Kulbhushan Jadhav Death Sentence Case: India Wins At The Hague As ICJ Says No Execution Before Final Decision

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered its order on the much-awaited Kulbhushan Jadhav death sentence case today at 3.30 pm. The UN court stayed the execution of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court on the charge of spying. 


The final verdict of the court, thus, has come in favour of India. The Court telling Pakistan not to execute Kulbhushan Jadhav as well as giving consular access to India is also a big diplomatic win for the country at international level.

The ICJ at the Hague, heard arguments in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case from both India and Pakistan. Kulbhushan Jadhav (47), a former Indian naval officer, has been sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan over alleged espionage in Balochistan.

New Delhi argued that Pakistan has violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by denying Mr Jadhav, access to legal and other assistance from India. It also appealed that Pakistan should be ordered to stop his execution. Pakistan, while arguing that the top UN court doesn’t have jurisdiction in the matter responded to India’s appeal by telling the UN court that it should decline jurisdiction in the case.

It was claimed by Pakistan that Mr Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 in the restive province of Balochistan. However, India says that he was kidnapped from Iran. There has been a long-running conflict in Balochistan between Pakistani security forces and a militant separatist movement.

Judge Ronny Abraham, President of the Court, read out the details of the case specifying the arguments of both India and Pakistan;

“Pakistan had denied consular access to India but it informed India that consular access will be considered after India’s assistance in the investigation of the issue.  It appears that under Pakistani law that Mr. Jadhav will have 40 days to file an appeal till i.e.19 May. It is not known if he has done that so far”.

Reading the court’s unanimous decision, he further said:

“Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings,”

Following is what the UN Court said:

  • Pakistan must take all steps to ensure Kulbhushan Jadhav isn’t executed.
  • Pakistan should have given India consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav.
  • It appears that the rights invoked by India in this case are plausible.
  • The Vienna Convention does not exclude persons arrested for charges of spying or terrorism.
  • Access denied to Kulbhushan Jadhav appears to fall within its jurisdiction

Attorney General Mukul Rahatgi, in his reaction on the verdict said:

“This a big win for India and for human rights. Kulbhushan Jadhav cannot be executed before a final verdict. Today, every single Indian is with Kulbhushan Jadhav and his family. I would like to congratulate the Ministry of External Affairs. The world knows that there was no fair trial. Pakistan’s military trial does not have merit. The ICJ’s verdict in this case is binding for both India and Pakistan”

Meanwhile people from all corners of India had come out in support of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former naval officer.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted a few minutes after the verdict,

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu also tweeted,

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