International Court stays Indian prisoner’s execution in Pakistan
The Hague: The UN´s top court on April 18 ordered Pakistan to stay the execution of an Indian convicted of alleged spying.
Judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in a unanimous and binding decision that Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav must not be executed by Islamabad until they have had time to pass final judgment in the case, report agencies.
Jadhav was arrested from Baluchistan in March 2016 and Pakistani officials say he has confessed to spying for Indian intelligence services. He was convicted in April by a military court and sentenced to death.
India maintains that Jadhav is not a spy India and charged that Pakistan violated its obligations under an international treaty guaranteeing diplomatic help to foreigners accused of capital crimes.
“Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that (Jadhav) is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings,” said the court´s president Ronny Abraham, a French academic and practitioner in the field of public international law.
The 11 judges agreed with India that there was urgency in the case, and noted that Pakistan had given no assurance that Jadhav would not be executed till its verdict.
Pakistan denied that the execution was imminent, saying that Jadhav had time at least till August for legal remedies. Its representative also accused India of “political grandstanding” and told the court Jadhav “has confessed to having been sent by India to wage terror on the innocent civilians and infrastructure of Pakistan”.
Abraham also ordered Pakistan to inform the tribunal that it has implemented the decision, and stressed that ICJ decisions are binding on all state members.
Outlining the reasons for its decision, Abraham said Pakistan had “given no assurances” Jadhav would not be executed before the court delivered its final decision.
The case has highlighted the recent sharp upsurge in tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.
India lodged its case against Pakistan earlier this month, and the ICJ has yet to decide whether to take it up. The hearings and, final decision, could take more many months if not years.
The ICJ was set up in 1945 to rule on disputes between nations in accordance with international law.
Jadhav, 47, reportedly joined India´s National Defence Academy in 1987 and was commissioned as an engineer in the Indian Navy in 1991.
The son of a retired police office, his neighbors in Mumbai where he lived with his wife and two children, remember him as a shy but helpful man who was good at sport and academic, according to the Hindustan Times newspaper.
Indian lawyer Deepak Mittal told the tribunal on April 15 that Jadhav was “an innocent Indian national” who had been held incommunicado “for more than a year on concocted charges.”
But Pakistani representatives accused New Delhi of “political grandstanding” and told the court Jadhav “has confessed to having been sent by India to wage terror on the innocent civilians and infrastructure of Pakistan.”
The last time India and Pakistan took a dispute to the ICJ was in 1999 when Islamabad protested against the downing of a Pakistani navy plane killing 16 people. In that case, the tribunal decided it was not competent to rule in the dispute and closed the case.
The two countries faced each other in the international court amid a sharp escalation in tension over ceasefire violations by Pakistan, terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and the recent mutilation of two Indian soldiers by Pakistanis.