India seeks Jadhav’s retrial in civilian court or annulment of death sentence

Top UN court will convene again tomorrow to hear Pakistan's second round of submissions

Irfan Ghauri February 20, 2019
Indian counsel Harish Salve. SCREENGRAB

THE HAGUE: The Indian legal team sought annulment of self-confessed Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence or a retrial in a Pakistan civilian court with full consular access on Wednesday.

Deepak Mittal, the joint secretary of India’s Ministry of External Affairs made the concluding remarks by reading out the relief sought by India with regards to Jadhav after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) adjourned the hearing of the high-profile case till Thursday.

He asked the court to annul Jadhav’s death sentence by a Pakistani military court, arrange his release and send him back to India. “If not so, then annual his sentence and refer his case to a civilian court awarding India right to appoint lawyer for his defence,” he remarked.

Earlier during the hearing, the Indian side reiterated its demand of granting consular access to Jadhav after the top United Nations court resumed hearing of the case.

The ICJ is conducting a four-day hearing, which begun on Monday, of the case of self-confessed Indian spy Commander Jadhav, who was convicted of espionage by a Pakistani military court and sentenced to death in April 2017.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, the Pakistani team ripped apart India’s contradictory claims in the case and accused the South Asian arch rival of using the top UN court for ‘political theatre’.

Pakistan rips apart India's contradictory claims in Jadhav case at ICJ

As the Indian side begun presenting its arguments today, Harish Salve, the Indian counsel criticised the language used by his Pakistani counterpart was not in line with ‘dignity of this court’.

“This language was never used in this court earlier. Perhaps this court should draw a line now on use of [such] language,” salve remarked.

“India never denies nationality of its citizens like Pakistan has been doing in the past. On March 25 when Pakistan issued demarche to India on arrest of RAW agent it did so because it knew Jadhav is Indian citizen.”

Earlier in the day, the ICJ had refused to entertain Pakistan’s request to adjourn the hearing to appoint a new ad-hoc judge, citing the illness of Tassaduq Hussain Jillani.

Jadhav was captured in Balochistan in March 2016. He confessed to his association with the Indian intelligence agency – Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) — and his involvement in espionage and fomenting terrorism in Pakistan. Subsequently, the 48-year-old was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of spying and terrorism in April 2017. In May 2017, India moved the ICJ against the verdict.

A delegation led by Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan and comprising Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, Director Foreign Affairs Fareha Bugti, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Netherlands Shujjat Ali Rathore and others, is in The Hague to represent Pakistan’s case.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs officials Deepak Mittal, VD Sharma, S Senthil Kumar and Sandeep Kumar, and India’s Ambassador to the Netherlands Venu Rajamony comprise India’s delegation at the ICJ.


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