After ICJ victory, India to seek annulment of Pakistan military court’s death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav

Senior lawyer Harish Salve has said that India will now seek annulment of the death sentence given to Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan's military court.

After ICJ victory, India to seek annulment of Pakistan military court’s death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav

New Delhi: After scoring a major victory over Pakistan at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the Indian government will now seek annulment of death sentence given to its national Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by the neighbouring country's military court over espionage charges.

The Indian government will now seek annulment of the secret Pakistani military court's death sentence for Kulbhushan Jadhav, Harish Salve, India's counsel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), had said.

Salve also threw indications that seeking consular access to Jadhav may not be the priority now.

"Pakistan should have granted consular access in March 2016, even before the beginning of the trial," Salve told a press briefing, according to the Times of India.

The senior lawyer clarified that even though the court had granted consular access to the Indian government, the access had come very late.

India's fight for Jadhav rested on the argument of 'restitution' which basically meant that the verdict of the Pakistani military court which found Jadhav guilty needed to be 'annulled' and the trial started afresh, Salve said. 

Salve also informed that India's plea in the ICJ had sought annulment of the Pakistani military court's order.

He said that in principle, restitution could take on a larger dimension, perhaps suggesting that it might mean Jadhav's release as well. If the very process was flawed, then the death sentence could not stand, he said.

Salve's reaction came shortly after India scored a major diplomatic victory over Pakistan on Thursday as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) stayed the execution of former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav.

In an unanimous and binding decision, the UN's top court said the status quo should be maintained pending final decision to be taken in the case that has brought ties between the two rival neighbours to a new low.

"Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings and shall inform the court of all the measures taken in implementation of the present order," ICJ President Ronny Abraham said, reading out the order in the open court.

"The court also decides that until it has given its final decision, it shall remain seized of the matters which form the subject matter of this order," said the court which consists of 10 judges, including Justice Dalveer Bhandari of India, besides President Abraham.

The 15-member bench backed India's contention that there had been a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations as New Delhi's requests for consular access to its national had been denied 16 times.

The court, which had earlier provisionally stayed Jadhav's sentence on May 9, also noted that India and Pakistan were signatories to the Vienna Convention since 1977.

Jadhav would get a reprieve of at least 150 days 

India welcomed the court's unanimous decision on Jadhav, 46, while Islamabad said it had informed the ICJ that it did not accept the court's jurisdiction in matters related to national security.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his satisfaction with the verdict and spoke to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who described the order as a "great relief", as per PTI.