Pakistan ordered not to kill officer
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The International Court of Justice on Thursday ordered Pakistan not to execute an Indian naval officer convicted of espionage and terrorism, in a case that has further strained relations between the Asian neighbours.
The UN court ruled unanimously that Pakistan shouldn’t carry out the death penalty on Kulbhushan Jadhav pending the outcome of a case filed by India alleging that Pakistan breached Jadhav’s right to consular assistance following his arrest last year. Jadhav was convicted in Pakistan and sentenced to death on April 10.
“Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr. Jadhav is not executed,” court President Ronny Abraham said at a hearing in the ornate, wood-paneled Great Hall of Justice in The Hague.
India’s external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, tweeted that the “ICJ order has come as a huge relief to the family of Kulbhushan Jadhav and people of India.”
Pakistan sought to play down the significance of the order, saying in a written statement that, “the court’s decision today has not changed the status of Cmdr. Jadhav’s case in any manner.”
The foreign ministry statement added that Jadhav “still has ample time to petition for clemency.”
At hearings on Monday, India called Jadhav’s trial a“serious mis carriage of justice” because he wasn’ t allowed to see Indian diplomats or choose his own defence lawyer. Indian lawyers argued that those restrictions amounted to a breach of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
Pakistan argued that Jadhav’s rights weren’t breached and that the court didn’t need to issue an urgent order to stay his execution because it wasn’t imminent. A lawyer for Pakistan added that a bilateral agreement allows either country to decide on consular access in cases involving “political or security” issues.
Pakistani representative Mohammad Faisal said Monday that Jadhav “has confessed to having been sent by India to wage terror on the innocent civilians and infrastructure of Pakistan.”
The case will take months or years to settle, so judges issued Thursday’s order to ensure that Jadhav isn’t executed before the case ends. Rulings by the court are final and binding on the countries involved.
Indians hold posters of Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav and light fire crackers as they celebrate the International Court of Justice order stopping Pakistan from executing him.