Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence in Pakistan stayed by International Court of Justice (ICJ)

Mumbai, July 17, 2019 : The International Court of Justice (ICJ), The Hague, has said that Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence should remain suspended until Pakistan effectively reviews and reconsiders the conviction/sentence in light of Pakistan’s breach of Art 36(1) i.e. denial of consular access. The world court has also affirmed Jadhav’s right to consular access. The court ruled in favour of India by 15 votes to 1.

Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav (49) is alleged by the Pakistani government that he was arrested in the Pakistani province of Balochistan on charges of terrorism and spying for India. On 10 April 2017, Indian foreign ministry said he had been “kidnapped last year from Iran and his subsequent presence in Pakistan has never been explained credibly”.

The Pakistani government stated that he was a serving commander in the Indian Navy who was involved in subversive activities inside Pakistan and was arrested on 3 March 2016 during a counter-intelligence operation in Balochistan. The Indian government recognised Jadhav as a former naval officer but denied any current links with him and maintained that he took premature retirement and was abducted from Iran.

On 10 April 2017, Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Field General Court Martial in Pakistan. On 18 May 2017, the International Court of Justice stayed the execution pending the final judgement on the case.

Jadhav was born in Sangli, Maharashtra, on 16 April 1970 to Sudhir and Avanti Jadhav. His father is a retired Mumbai Police officer. Jadhav is married and has two children.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs stated that Jadhav was an Indian Navy officer but had retired prematurely and he had no current link with the government since his retirement. The Indian High Commission also sought consular access to Jadhav but Pakistan did not agree to it. Pakistan’s diplomat to India said that consular access wasn’t automatic during cases related to security, explaining Jadhav had been travelling “under a fake name with an original Indian passport” since 2003.