In a major diplomatic victory for India in the KULBHUSHAN JADHAV – ICJ episode, on Wednesday ICJ directed Pakistan to review his conviction. Until then his death sentence has been put on hold. The court has also asked Islamabad to allow New Delhi consular access at the earliest.

In a 15-1 order, the ICJ held that Jadhav’s execution will remain on hold until Islamabad “effectively reviews and reconsiders” his conviction.

“A proceeded with remain of execution constitutes a crucial condition for the effective review and reexamination of the conviction and sentence of Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav.” 

PM Narendra Modi welcomed the order, he tweeted:

Advocate Harish Salve, who represented India at the ICJ, said: “The order assures a fair trial. There is, in fact an obligation of result on Pakistan. And if the trial is not fair, we can go back and knock the doors of the ICJ.” 

This effectively means is that the death sentence of Jadhav by the military court will stay onhold until a civil court hears the case afresh. 

The court ruled decisively in favour of India’s plea to allow it full consular access to Jadhav, which has so far been denied. Judge Gilani from Pakistan was the only one to go against the majority judgement. The judge from China, vice president Xue, also voted in favour of the judgement. 

The court, however, rejected India’s plea for annulment of Jadhav’s conviction by the military court in Pakistan and his immediate release. 

The Hague-based ICJ inferred that Islamabad had disregarded Article 36 of the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations, 1963, by not informing New Delhi about Jadhav’s arrest immediately after Pakistan Army had arrested him.

India challenged the “farcical trial” that Jadhav was put through. And has asked the court to instruct Pakistan to give him a fair fight in the courts of Pakistan and allow India consular access. 

The verdict was read out at a public sitting of the UN court. The session was held under the presidency of Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf. 

Judge Yusuf said that “Pakistan’s objection based on ‘clean hands’ doctrine must be rejected, Pakistan has not explained how any of the wrongful acts allegedly committed by India may have prevented Pakistan from fulfilling its obligation,” the court further noted. 

“The court said that it has jurisdiction to entertain India’s claims. India was under no obligation to consider other dispute settlement mechanisms prior to instituting proceedings. Therefore, Pakistan’s objection based on alleged non-compliance cannot be sustained.” 

The court found that Pakistan denied India of the privilege to have access to Jadhav. To visit him in confinement and to arrange for his legal representation. And thereby breached obligations incumbent upon it under the Vienna Convention.

Just after PM Modi’s tweet, defence minister tweeted and made the ICJ verdict as India’s big win over Pakistan.

The decision in the high-profile case comes about five months after a 15 member bench of the ICJ. Which was headed by Judge Yusuf, reserved its decision on February 21 after hearing oral submissions. But due to the power of India the proceedings lasted two years and two months.

Jadhav, 49, a retired officer of the Indian Navy got arrested by Pakistan security forces on March 3, 2016.   

Pakistan claims that Jadhav was arrested near the Pak-Afghan border of Chaman in Balochistan. And alleges that he illegally entered the country. India, on the other hand, argues that Pakistan abducted Jadhav from Iran.