by Elton Gomes
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will begin the final round of hearing to announce its verdict over India’s appeal against Kulbhushan Jadhav’s execution from February 18 in The Hague, the world court body said in an announcement.
A Pakistani military court sentenced Jadhav to death on spying charges in April 2017. In the same year, India challenged the verdict and moved the ICJ in May.
The ICJ has halted Jadhav’s execution on India’s appeal pending the final verdict by it. Both India and Pakistan have submitted their detailed pleas and responses to the world court.
Pakistan sentenced Jadhav to death in 2017
In April 2017, a Field General Court Martial (FGCM) handed Kulbhushan Jadhav the death sentence after trial for involvement in espionage and sabotage activities in Karachi and Balochistan.
Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016, in a counter-intelligence operation in Balochistan’s Mashkel area for being involved in espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement
“The spy was tried through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) and awarded the death sentence. Today Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed his death sentence awarded by FGCM,” Pakistan military’s media wing said, Dawn reported.
The statement from the media wing further said, “He confessed before a magistrate and the court that he was tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organise espionage/sabotage activities aiming to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of law enforcement agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi,” Hindustan Times reported.
India approaches ICJ
In May 2017, India initiated proceedings before the ICJ, seeking a stay of execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death.
In its plea, India accused Pakistan of “egregious violations of the Vienna Convention”. India also said that it was not informed about Jadhav’s detention long after he was arrested, and that Pakistan did not inform him of his rights.
India further alleged that, in violation of the Vienna Convention, Pakistani authorities are denying India its right of consular access to Jadhav, despite its repeated requests.
India urged the ICJ to make sure that Jadhav’s death sentence is suspended and declared a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
Furthermore, India sought to bar Pakistan from “giving effect to the sentence” and asked the ICJ to direct Pakistan “to take steps to annul the decision of the military court”.
ICJ halts Jadhav’s execution
In May 2017, judges at the ICJ did not allow Pakistan to carry out the death penalty imposed on Kulbhushan Jadhav as India made its case that he should be spared. The judges ruled that, while they deliberate over the case, Jadhav should be kept alive.
Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav, and what is the case against him?
After his arrest in 2016, Pakistan claimed that Jadhav was working with the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in India and was involved with separatists in Balochistan.
Reports said that Jadhav was allegedly arrested in Balochistan while he was entering via Iran. Pakistan released a video of Jadhav ‘confessing’ to being a RAW spy.
In the video, Jadhav said that he had been directing various activities in Karachi and Balochistan “at the behest of RAW”, and that he was still a part of the Indian Navy.
He also said that he was recruited by RAW in 2013, but established “a base” in Iran’s Chabahar 10 years before that. He said that he made clandestine journeys to Karachi and Balochistan.
Officials in Pakistan claimed that Jadhav was involved in spreading terrorist activities in Karachi and Balochistan. Officials further claimed that Jadhav had converted to Islam and worked at Gadani under the cover of a scrap dealer.
German ambassador to Pakistan Gunter Mulack claimed that Jadhav was caught by the Taliban in Iran and sold to the Pakistani intelligence agencies. Home Minister Rajnath Singh echoed a similar sentiment, and raised a question: “He went out of India for business. Pakistani agencies kidnapped him. He was carrying an Indian passport. Do spies carry passports?” Economic Times reported.
The Indian embassy in Pakistan has been constantly trying to gain consular access to Jadhav. However, Pakistan has denied almost 15 such requests by India, on the basis of Jadhav’s involvement in “subversive activities”.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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