THE HAGUE: The International Court of Justice ordered Pakistan Wednesday to review the death sentence for an alleged Indian spy, ruling Islamabad had violated New Delhi’s rights to consular visits after his arrest.
Former Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav was held in Pakistan’s restive southwestern province of Baluchistan in March 2016 on charges of espionage, and condemned to death by a military court the following year.
The Hague–based ICJ ordered the “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.
Pakistan “deprived the Republic of India of the right to communicate with and have access to Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation”, the judges said.
“A continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav,“ it ruled.
India hailed the ruling as a “complete victory.”
“By ordering Pakistan to follow the Vienna Convention this is a complete victory for us. This opens up the possibility of consular access and a retrial in a civilian court,“ an Indian government official said.
“If Pakistan wants improved relations it should set him free and give him safe passage back to us.” — AFP