The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has rejected New Delhi’s plea to acquit and release self-confessed Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav but ruled that he be allowed consular access.
Pakistan’s legal team headed by Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan was present in the courtroom when the verdict was announced on Wednesday.
The international court also ordered Pakistan for “effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence,” according to a document on the court’s website.
Judges at the UN’s top court ruled Pakistan had breached the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which gives countries the right to consular access when their nationals are arrested abroad.
The court found by 15 votes to 1 that Pakistan had breached Jadhav’s rights under the Vienna convention on consular relations by not allowing Indian diplomats to visit him in jail, according to the document.
Jadhav, a serving commander in the Indian Navy working for India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan on charges of espionage, and condemned to death by a military court the following year.
In June 2017, the Indian spy had filed a mercy petition against his death penalty while India approached the ICJ against the conviction. The ICJ stayed his execution.
Watch: Kulbushan Jadhav’s confession
India argued that commander Jadhav was an innocent businessman who was kidnapped from Iran, brought to Pakistan and tortured to confess that he was a commander in the Indian Navy and working for RAW, India’s primary intelligence agency.
Pakistan had rejected all Indian allegations. It said the evidence obtained from Jadhav after his arrest and during the criminal process leading to his conviction was amply demonstrating his activities in fomenting terrorism and engaging in espionage within Pakistan.
In February, the attorney general told the ICJ that Jadhav’s “unlawful activities were directed at creating anarchy in Pakistan and particularly targeted the China-Pakistan corridor.”
Pakistan welcomes ‘fitting’ ICJ verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav
The ICJ was set up in 1946 to rule in disputes between countries. It, however, has no means to enforce its rulings which are final and without appeal.
‘Pakistan will act as per law’
The Foreign Office said that Pakistan, as a responsible member of the International community “upheld its commitment from the very beginning of the case by appearing before the honourable court for the provisional measures hearing despite a very short notice”.
“Having heard the judgment, Pakistan will now proceed as per law,” it said in a statement.
It reiterated that Jadhav entered Pakistan without a visa on authentic Indian passport with a fake alias Hussain Mubarak Patel.
“Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav is responsible for acts of sabotage, espionage and multiple terrorist incidents in which scores of innocent Pakistani citizens were killed resulting into umpteen women being widowed and numerous children becoming orphans. Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav has confessed all these acts during his trial in Pakistani court in front of a Judicial Magistrate. This is a clear case of Indian state terrorism.”
March 3, 2016: Kulbhushan Jadhav arrested in Balochistan for espionage
April 10, 2017: Military court sentences Kulbhushan Jadhav to death
May 8, 2017: India approaches the ICJ against Pakistan for denying consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav
July 13, 2018: ICJ stays Kulbhushan Jadhav’s execution in Pakistan
Feb 22, 2019: ICJ reserves judgement in the case
July 17, 2019: ICJ rejects India’s plea for acquittal, repatriation of Kulbhushan Jadhav, grants him consular access, asks Pakistan to review conviction.