Kalbhushan Jadhav – Timeline

ICJ rejects India’s plea on Kulbhushan Jhadav | pakistantribe.com

3 March 2016:

First time in the history an Indian Naval Officer – Active RAW’s operative – Jadhav arrested on the charges of terrorism and sabotage by Pakistan on Iran border.

24 March 2016:

Pakistani army claims Jadhav is a R&AW agent and was picked up from Saravan which is near Pakistan-Iran border to the south east of Zahidan.

26 March 2016:

  • Pakistan summons Indian High Commissioner and releases statement lodging protest on “the illegal entry into Pakistan by a R&AW officer and his involvement in subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi.”
  • India, in response, said,”Kulbhushan Jadhav has no links with Government as he retired from Navy in 2002″.

29 March 2016:

  • Pakistan releases Jadhav’s confession statement video.
  • In the video, Jadhav is seen as saying that he is a serving Indian Navy officer and operative of the R&AW.

April 2016:

Balochistan’s provincial government files an FIR against Jadhav on charges of terrorism and sabotage.

8 December 2016:

Sartaj Aziz claimed that insufficient evidence had delayed dossier on Kalbhushan.

31 December 2016:

  • Pakistan claimed that it would hand over a dossier on Indian national Jadhav to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. 

3 March 2017:

  • Sartaj Aziz takes U-turn from previous statement on insufficient evidence on Jadhav.
  • Sartaj Aziz affirms to Pakistan senate that Jadhav will not be extradited to India under any circumstances. 
  • India takes serious note and asks Pakistan to follow well-established international practice while dealing with foreign nationals in its custody.

9 April 2017:

  • One Lt Col (rtd.) Muhammad Habib goes missing in Nepal near Indian border.
  • Habib retired in October 2014.
  • Zahir had arrived in Nepal to reportedly face an interview for a United Nations job. According to the reports, Zahir arrived in Nepal via an Air Arabia flight (Call Sign WY 344), with the passport no. AJ5122964, for a UN job interview in Nepal.
  • Media rumored a stance that Habib’s disappearance was linked with Kalbhushan and R&AW.

10 April 2017:

  • Military Courts announced that Jadhav would be hanged.
  • Decision after a “military court” found him guilty of “espionage and sabotage”.
  • The move that quickly raised tensions between the nuclear-armed countries.  India slams the decision and sends a demarche to Pakistan’s high commissioner Abdul Basit stating that Jadhav was “kidnapped last year from Iran”, and his trial was “farcical” in the absence of any evidence against him.

10 May 2017:

  1. Shortly after India approached it against Pakistan, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has reportedly asked Pakistan not to act on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s execution.

Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj confirmed the news on Twitter.


Summary of Kalbhusan’s Case in ICJ

  1. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will pronounce its verdict on the Kulbhushan Jadhavcase on Thursday, just 10 days after India approached it demanding immediate suspension of the death sentence given to its former Navy officer by a Pakistan military court.
    2. India is represented by its ‘Agent’ Deepak Mittal, who is the head of the Pakistan division in the external affairs ministry. The case is argued by its lead attorney Harish Salve. The Indian team is expected to be present at the time of the verdict.
    3. India had approached the ICJ on May 8, accusing Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention and conducting a “farcical trial” for convicting Jadhav, which was in “egregious violations” of the Vienna Convention.
    4. During its submission to the ICJ on May 15 at a public hearing, India had demanded the immediate annulment of Jadhav’s death sentence, expressing fears that Pakistan could execute him even before the hearing at the ICJ was over.
    5. India enumerated four provisional measures in its appeal to the ICJ: declare the death sentence awarded to Jadhav illegal; being violative of international law and treaty rights; restrain Pakistan from acting in violation of the Vienna Convention and international law by giving effect to the sentence or the conviction in any manner; and if Pakistan is unable to annul the decision, direct it to release the convicted Indian national forthwith.
    6. Pakistan rebutted by saying that India had no right to invoke the jurisdiction of the UN’s highest court because the Vienna Convention does not provide for matters relating to spies, terrorists and those who indulge in espionage.
    7. India further charged that Jadhav had no access to legal counsel in Pakistan, had been denied consular access and that his confession admitting his crimes had been extracted forcefully when he was in military custody.
    8. Asserting that Jadhav’s execution was not imminent, Pakistan said he had 150 days to plead clemency. However, the ICJ denied permission to Pakistan to play the purported “confessional” video of Jadhav at the public hearing.
    9. Jadhav’s arrest and conviction created a diplomatic maelstrom between the two countries, with India requesting consular access to the imprisoned man 16 times, only to be repeatedly turned down by Pakistan.
    10. Jadhav was awarded the death sentence by a Pakistani military court last month, a year after he was arrested on charges of espionage and subversive activities. While India stated that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he was involved in business activities after retiring from the Indian Navy, Pakistan claims to have arrested Jadhav from its restive Balochistan province.


India’s Submission in ICJ

  1. Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran in 2016, brought to Pakistan, presented as an alleged Indian spy and a confession was extracted in military custody.
  2. India made innumerable requests to Pakistan for consular access which were denied.
  3. Pakistan has not provided India any charge sheet, copy of the verdict and other documents.
  4. The trial was conducted without informing Jadhav.
  5. Graver the charges, greater the need for continued adherence to the Vienna Convention.


Pakistan’s Submission in ICJ 

  1. “Wholly inappropriate” for India to seek provisional measures from this court.
  2. Pakistan invites ICJ to dismiss India’s application as there is no urgency in this plea and the court’s jurisdiction is limited. The Indian national has 150 days to seek clemency.
  3. India unwilling to explain the false passport, which bore a Muslim name and was found in Jadhav’s possession.


ICJ Precedents

Past cases of a country going to the ICJ to stop the execution of its citizens by another

1- LaGrand Case (Germany vs United States)

On January 7, 1982, German nationals Karl-Heinz and Walter Bernhard were involved in an armed robbery in Marana, Arizona in the United States. They were convicted of killing a man and severely injuring a woman and subsequently sentenced to death. Germany moved the ICJ weeks before their executions, securing a provisional stay from The Hague. But the US gave a lethal injection to LaGrand on Feb 24, 1999 and executed Bernhard in a case chamber a week later. In 2001, the ICJ rejected United States’ arguments based on domestic procedure and law and ruled in favour of Germany.

2-Avena case (Mexico vs US)

On January 9, 2003, Mexico took the United States to The Hague for violating VCCR in the trial of 54 Mexican nationals who were sentenced to death. Mexico requested the court to order a stay on the executions till it took a final decision on the matter, relying heavily on the ICJ’s judgment in the LaGrand case. César Roberto Fierro Reyna, Roberto Moreno Ramos, and Osvaldo Torres Aguilera were among those at risk of execution in the next few weeks, Mexico contended. The ICJ concluded that in 51 of the cases, excluding those of Reyna, Ramos, and Aguilera, the US breached the provisions of VCCR. But the matter didn’t end there and the US Supreme Court held that the United States Congress had not implemented enabling law to address violations of the VCCR.

3-Escalation: Going to UNSC

Parties have moved the United Nations Security Council to challenge an ICJ order. In 1986, Nicaragua, proceeded took the US to Hague accusing it of supported a rebellion to destabilise the country. ICJ ruled against US, which cancelled the declaration of ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction and moved the UN Security Council against the order successfully.

About the author

Hissan Khan

Hissan Khan is currently working as the Editorial Head of Pakistan Tribe's Islamabad Office. Having work as current affairs host, news analyst and C4D expert, Hissan holds a good command over communication and development strategies.

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