ICJ orders Pakistan not to execute Kulbhushan Jadhav, India heaves sigh of relief

May 19, 2017 07:24 AM

Kulbhushan Jadhav gained a temporary reprieve on Thursday as the convicted of alleged espionage and terrorism, rejecting Islamabad's argument that the UN's top legal body did not have jurisdiction in the case. Pakistan sought to play down the significance of the order, saying it amounted to maintaining "status quo" in Jadhav's case and that it was determined to take the matter to its "logical end". It added Jadhav "would be provided every opportunity and remedy" to defend his case and had "ample time to petition for clemency".

Three days after India and Pakistan presented their arguments, Ronny Abraham, president of the United Nations' highest court in The Hague, read out the order: "Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings and shall inform the court of all the measures taken in implementation of the present order."

External affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said the order was "unanimous, clear and unambiguous" and would will help remedy the violation of Jadhav's rights. He noted the ICJ's order was internationally binding. However, the ICJ has no means to enforce its rulings and they have sometimes been ignored.

In "provisional measures" adopted unanimously, the 12-judge tribunal said it would remain "seized of the matters" in its order until it gives a final judgment.

At the hearing on Monday, India described Jadhav's trial as a "serious miscarriage of justice" because Indian diplomats were not granted consular access to him and he wasn't allowed to choose his defence lawyer. India argued these restrictions amounted to a breach of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Pakistan claimed the ICJ did not have the jurisdiction to take up Jadhav's case as it was a "national security" issue, and that the court did not need to issue an order to stay the execution because it wasn't imminent.

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