RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Autor)
The United Nations' top court has ordered Pakistan to review the death penalty given to a retired Indian naval officer who was convicted of being a spy.
Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in 2017, sparking outrage in India.
India then appealed to the International Court of Justice, arguing that Pakistan had violated Jadhav's rights by denying him access to consular officials, and won an injunction to stay Jadhav's execution.
Pakistan argued that based upon a bilateral treaty between the nations, it was not obligated to allow diplomatic assistance for people suspected of being spies or terrorists.
But the 16-judge panel on July 17 ruled 15-1 that Pakistan had breached Jadhav's rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by not allowing Indian diplomats to visit him in jail or assist him during his trial at a military court.
It said Pakistan has to provide an "effective review" of the case and added that a "continued stay of execution" was needed for that to happen.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the ruling, tweeting that "truth and justice have prevailed."
"I am sure Kulbhushan Jadhav will get justice," he added.
Jadhav was accused of working for Indian intelligence services in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province, located along the border with Afghanistan. Islamabad has long accused India of backing separatist rebels in Balochistan.
The court settles legal disputes submitted to it by UN member states and its judgments are binding. The court also offers advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by United Nations organs and agencies of the system.
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