All you need to know: Kulbhushan Jadhav Case

Kulbhushan Jadhav came to fore in the public eye in early 2016, when he was arrested by the Pakistani army. Ever since his arrest, many allegations were brought against him, and he was sentenced to death. From India to the prisons of Pakistan, and even a case before the ICJ – this article breaks down the events that have transpired since March 2016.

Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav?

According to the Pakistani intelligence, Kulbhushan Jadhav is a naval officer. He has been allegedly involved in activities which would be harmful to Pakistan. The Indian authorities say that Jadhav is a retired naval officer (1987-2001) and that he is currently a businessman.

Image of Kulbhushan Jadhav
Kulbhushan Jadhav

Timeline of Events:

  1. 3rd March 2016: Jadhav was arrested in Mashkel, Balochistan during a counterintelligence raid conducted by security forces. (Indian sources suggest that Jadhav was kidnapped by Mullah Omar Irani in Iran and later given to the Pakistani Army)
  2. 10th April 2017: A Field General Court Martial in Pakistan gave a death sentence to Jadhav.
  3. 11th April 2017: Rajnath Singh issued a statement that Pakistani agencies from Iran kidnapped Jadhav  and put him through trial as a RAW agent.
  4. May 2017: India approached the ICJ against Pakistan’s violation of the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations.
  5. 15th May 2017: ICJ proceedings begin. Harish Salve heads India’s legal team.
  6. 18th May 2017: ICJ stays Jadhav’s death sentence.
  7. 22nd June 2017: Pakistan released a controversial confessional video in which Jadhav talks about his involvement in RAW activities in Pakistan. India vehemently denied the veracity of this video and insisted that it was doctored.
  8. The case is currently in the initial stages of filing arguments and rejoinders in the ICJ.

Involvement of ICJ:

The Indian Government, on coming to know of the arrest of Jadhav, sought to use its consular powers to keep in contact with him. But the Pakistani government did not allow this diplomatic power. It reasoned that, in cases such as these of criminal espionage, such rights would not be applicable. All 13 requests for consular access were denied by Pakistan. Having no other recourse, especially since Jadhav was sentenced to death, the Indian Government approached the ICJ with regard to the violation of  Art. 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 by Pakistan. As part of its request for provisional measures of protection, the Indian Government referred to three cases:

  1. Case Concerning the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (Paraguay v. United States of America)
  2. La Grand (Germany v. United States of America)
  3. Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America)

The Court decided in favour of India stating thus:

57. The Court concludes from all the above considerations that the conditions required by its Statute for it to indicate provisional measures are met and that certain measures must be indicated in order to protect the rights claimed by India pending its final decision.

58. Under the present circumstances, it is appropriate for the Court to order that Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr. Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings and shall inform the Court of all the measures taken in implementation of the present Order.

What is happening now?

Currently, the matter is listed before the ICJ. India and Pakistan have filed the memorial and the counter-memorial respectively. In January, the Court allowed India to file a reply and Pakistan to file a rejoinder. Accordingly, on 17th April, India filed its reply. Pakistan will file its counter-rejoinder by July. Only then will the ICJ decide whether it will go ahead with the arguments.

We need to now wait and watch what arguments and contentions India takes, and whether the same will be countered by Pakistan.


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