The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at Hague has stayed the death sentence handed down to alleged spy Kulbhushan Jadhav after India accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. It has been more than a year since Jadhav has been arrested for suspected espionage and participating in disruptive activities in Pakistan. In April this year, Pakistan’s military court sentenced him to death, a decision India has labelled as “a case of premeditated murder”. Here are eight things you should know about the Kulbhushan Jadhav Case.
1. Who is Kulbushan Jadhav?
Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav was born in Sangli, Maharashtra, on 16 April 1970. His father is former Assistant Commissioner of Police. He is married with two kids. His family has said that he quit the navy and was involved in some business.
2. Who does India say he is?
The Indian government recognises him as a former naval officer. The government says he was abducted from Iran and that his confession was coerced.
3. Who does Pakistan say he is?
Pakistan claims he is an officer of the Indian Navy and works for India’s external intelligence agency—Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
They say he was trying to fuel sectarian violence in Balochistan and sabotage the $46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor through propaganda.
4. Why does Pakistan claim he is a spy?
Pakistan says Jadhav entered their country on a fake passport under the name of Hussain Mubarak Patel. They say he was involved in “subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi”, a mission that began in 2013. Jadhav was arrested during a counterintelligence raid in Balochistan.
5. What does Jadhav say in his confessional video?
Jadhav said in his confession that he was a serving Indian Naval officer and RAW agent working to destabilise Pakistan. He says that he was acting on instructions of RAW and indulged in terrorist activities “which resulted in the killing and wounding of Pakistani citizens”. Towards the end of the video, he says his statement is not out of duress and out of his own desire.
6. Does Pakistan have any evidence against him?
Pakistani military’s publicity wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said in a statement: “The spy was tried through field general court martial under the Pakistan army act and awarded the death sentence. Today chief of army staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed his death sentence awarded by FGCM,”
“He confessed before a magistrate and the court that he was tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organise espionage/sabotage activities aiming to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the efforts of law enforcement agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi.”
A flat in Panvel is the link between Kulbushan Jadhav and his alias, Hussain Mubarak Patel. Then, there is the purported confessional video.
7. How has India reacted to the news of his arrest?
India has labelled the video as doctored and fake. India says they have been denied consular access to Jadhav 13 times in 13 months. After the sentencing, Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar, summoned Pakistani high commissioner Abdul Basit, and handed over a demarche that read: “If this sentence (is) against an Indian citizen, awarded without observing basic norms of law and justice, is carried out, the government and people of India will regard it as a case of premeditated murder.” The court proceedings also lacked credible evidence said the statement. India stayed the release of several Pakistani prisoners after Jadhav’s death sentence was announced in April.
8. What happens now after the ICJ stay on his death sentence?
India accused Pakistan of “egregious violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations” in the detention and trial of Jadhav. India and Pakistan will have to make written submissions to the court, after which a 15-judge bench will determine of Jadhav’s rights have been violated. After the ICJ gives its decision, India nor Pakistan cannot appeal since the Hague-based court’s judgements are only subject to revisions and interpretations.
It in unknown if Pakistan will adhere to the stay since they had previously said, ”disputes to questions which by international law fall exclusively within the domestic jurisdiction of Pakistan”. Jadhav was arrested on espionage, which under Pakistan’s laws, denies him to consular access.
Although the ICJ decisions are binding, they do not have the power to implement it. It is “rare for a decision not to be implemented,” says the ICJ on its website. India and Pakistan are both members of the United Nations and therefore automatically have to comply with its rulings.