01:42 GMT24 November 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague has asked Islamabad to defer the death sentence given to former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav. Pakistan arrested Jadhav in 2016 on alleged charges of espionage, with a military court in the country sentencing him to death.

    In its judgement on Wednesday, the ICJ also asked Islamabad to give New Delhi consular access to Jadhav. The judgement came following India’s May 2017 application to the court challenging the arrest, detention and trial of its national. New Delhi contended that there had been a breach of the Vienna Convention by failing to inform Jadhav of his rights under the convention, denying access to Jadhav for its consular officers. It argued that the entire trial and sentencing by the Pakistani military court was based on a “confession taken under custody” and without adequate legal representation.  

    The ICJ rejected the objections of Pakistan to the admissibility of India’s application and ruled by a majority of 15 votes to one, that by not informing Jadhav “without delay of his rights under Article 36, paragraph 1(b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan breached the obligations incumbent upon it under that provision”.

    The court, however, did not accept India’s request for an annulment of the death sentence handed out by Pakistan’s military court and to release Jadhav and facilitate his safe passage to India.

    New Delhi has expressed satisfaction at the judgement. Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Federal Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari termed it “a big victory for India”.

    ​Former External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj welcomed the verdict and said: “It is a great victory for India”.

    ​On the other hand, Islamabad has also welcomed the verdict, with Pakistan’s federal minister for science and technology calling the ICJ judgement “a great outcome.”

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