The International Court of Justice will deliver its verdict in a case relating to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, whose death sentence by a Pakistani military court based on an ‘extracted confession’ has been questioned by India.
Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.
“It is an unfortunate case where the life of an innocent Indian is at risk,” former solicitor general Harish Salve, who was representing India, told the UN court when the hearing took place in February 2019 . “Pakistan’s story is solely based on rhetoric and not facts,” Salve said, adding that Jadhav’s continued custody without consular access should be declared unlawful.
Jadhav’s trial by a Pakistani military court “hopelessly failed to satisfy even the minimum standards of due process”, Salve said. Pakistan had not provided “credible evidence” to show Jadhav’s involvement in any act of terrorism, he argued. Jadhav’s reported confession, televised on Pakistani news channels, was clearly “coerced”, Salve contended.
“There is no manner of doubt that Pakistan is using this as a propaganda tool. Pakistan was bound to grant consular access without delay. Pakistan used confession document as propaganda. Pakistan has disrespected the Vienna Convention.” Salve also said there was no credible evidence against Jadhav.
President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf will read out the verdict during a public sitting which will take place at 3 pm (6.30 pm IST) on Wednesday at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands.
The verdict in the high-profile case comes nearly five months after a 15-member bench of ICJ led by Judge Yusuf had reserved its decision on February 21 after hearing oral submissions by India and Pakistan. The proceedings of the case took two years and two months to complete.
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal said that Pakistan has fully contested the case before the ICJ.
“Pakistan was hoping for the best and would accept the decision of ICJ,” he was quoted as saying by state-run Associated Press of Pakistan.
India moved the ICJ in May 8, 2017 for the ‘egregious violation’ of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to Jadhav.
A bench of the ICJ, which was set up after World War II to resolve international disputes, on May 18, 2017 had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.