In a reprieve for alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, the International Court of Justice at the Hague in the Netherlands has suspended the death sentence on him by a Pakistani military court, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday.
“I have spoken to the mother of #KulbhushanJadhav and told her about the order of President, ICJ under Art 74 Paragraph 4 of Rules of Court,” she said in a tweet.
She also said that legal luminary Harish Salve was representing the country on the matter.
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 aegregious violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations’ (hereinafter the aVienna 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 and Pakistan said Jadhav worked for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) fuelling the Baloch separatist movement and attempting to sabotage the CPEC project.
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.
Since Jadhav’s alleged arrest in Pakistan in March last year, India sought consular access to him 16 times till this month but Islamabad refused to respond.