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India's big win for Kulbhushan Jadhav at ICJ

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India's big win for Kulbhushan Jadhav at ICJ

International Court of Justice tells Pak to review Jadhav's conviction, death sentence and grant him consular access.

In a major victory for India, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague has given a verdict favourable to the country and granted a new lease of life to Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been languishing in Pakistan's 'military' prisons for more than three years.

President of ICJ, Justice Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf from Somalia, delivered the judgement on Wednesday at the Great Hall of Justice with 15 other judges sitting with him. The judgement was unanimous but one. Pakistan's judge ad hoc, Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani was the only one with a dissenting opinion, but couldn't sway anyone else onto his side.

While both sides are claiming victory, Pakistan is trying to play on the fact that ICJ did not order Jadhav's release. The reason why ICJ did not do that is because such matters do not fall under the world court's jurisdiction. Therefore, on all areas where ICJ has jurisdiction, India was the clear victor. New Delhi wanted consular access, review of the case, annulment of death sentence - on all three counts, the government got relief.

Reading out the judgement, Justice Yusuf delved in length on the arguments placed by both sides and the conclusions by the bench.

While the ICJ did not exceed purview of its jurisdiction, the basic rights over which India approached the World Court were addressed.

ICJ ruled in favour of India concluding that Pakistan breached Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) by denying consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav.

"Pakistan is under an obligation to inform Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav without further delay of his rights and to provide Indian consular officers access to him in accordance with Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations," the judgement said.

On "review" and "reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence, the court added that Pakistan is to provide "appropriate reparation in this case" so as to ensure reversal of the rights violated, but added that it would be "by the means of its (Pakistan) own choosing."

This opens the space for interpretation and India will wait to see whether the case will start afresh in a civil court or will Jadhav continue to be tried in military courts, which India Today has learnt, has not got parliamentary clearance to be reconstituted. As of today, Pakistan doesn't have military courts.

The final and very important aspect of the verdict is ICJ's ruling on the death sentence. The ICJ declared that 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 effectively means that Jadhav cannot be hanged until the time a fair trial is carried out in Pakistan.

While officials on Indian side say that the verdict of the ICJ is binding, there have been violators in the past. The two cases that were cited by India - LaGrand (Germany vs USA) and Avena (Mexico vs USA) - were cases in which the world court decided in favour of the states that requested compliance with international obligations, including Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, yet the US overrode the rulings and executed the nationals of the sending nations.

India will have to wait and see if Pakistan honours its commitment to international treaties and abides by the rulings of the world court.