The International Court of Justice, which has suspended the death sentence of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, is likely to hear India’s plea on Monday, said noted lawyer Harish Salve who is representing India at the ICJ.

Salve said on Wednesday that “India has taken a calibrated decision” on approaching the international court, in The Hague, Netherlands, and will wait to see Pakistan’s legal response.

“We are told to be there on Monday. We may have a hearing on Monday or a scheduling on Monday. We needed immediate relief. Whenever Pakistan is willing to be engaged we are ready,” the lawyer said.

Salve also said that consular access to Jadhav, sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court, is the right of India and the Indian.

“There is a stand alone obligation for consular access, which is not just the right of the State but also the right of the accused – and that is basically meant that right from the time you are arrested in the foreign country you have the benefit of consular access,” Salve told Times Now.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday tweeted that the ICJ has suspended the death sentence of Jadhav.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the ICJ said: “On 8 May 2017, the Republic of India instituted proceedings against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, accusing the latter of egregious violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations’ (hereinafter the Vienna Convention’) in the matter of the detention and trial of an Indian national, Mr. Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan,” the ICJ said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The Applicant contends that it was not informed of Mr. Jadhav’s detention until long after his arrest and that Pakistan failed to inform the accused of his rights,” the statement said.

Under Article 74, paragraph 4 of the ICJ rules, which says “pending the meeting of the Court, the President may call upon the parties to act in such a way as will enable any order the Court may make on the request for provisional measures to have its appropriate effects”, ICJ President Justice Ronny Abraham has written to Pakistan seeking the suspension of the sentence.

India had moved the court on Monday seeking a set of reliefs including “by way of suspension of the sentence of death awarded to the accused”, and “restraining Pakistan from giving effect to the sentence awarded by the military court”.

It had also sought the sentence of the military court “arrived in brazen defiance of Vienna Convention rights” as well as the rights of the accused be declared violative of international law.

Citing “the extreme gravity and immediacy of the threat that authorities in Pakistan will execute an Indian citizen in violation of obligations Pakistan owes India”, it urged the court to deliver an order indicating provisional measures immediately “without waiting for an oral hearing”.

Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer, was allegedly arrested in Balochistan in March 2016. Pakistan said Jadhav worked for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

A military court sentenced him to death on April 10 on charges of espionage and waging war against Islamabad.

New Delhi had warned that if Jadhav was hanged, it would be considered “premeditated murder” by Islamabad.

India has sought consular access to him 16 times but Islamabad has refused to respond.

First Published | 10 May 2017 5:56 PM
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