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With consular access being granted, India to push for civilian trial in Kulbhushan case

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New Delhi, July 19: After getting a favourable order in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the International Court of Justice, India is likely to push for a civilian trial.

It is the military court in Pakistan that had tried Jadhav and sentenced him to death. However the ICJ suspended the sentenced and ordered a re-trial apart from directing Pakistan to grant consular access.

A view of the International Court of Justice presided by ICJ judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf during the Kulbhushan Jadhavs verdict in Hague, Netherlands

If, India is able to get Pakistan to push for a civilian trial, then top lawyers can be hired to argue the case. However if it is a military trial, then the options are limited for India.

Meanwhile in a late night statement, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said that consular access would be granted to Jadhav. The modalities according to Pakistani laws are being worked out. The ministry said Jadhav had been informed about his rights under the Vienna Convention on consular relations.

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"Pursuant to the decision of the ICJ, Commander Kulbushan Jadhav has been informed of his rights under Article 36, Paragraph 1(b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations," the Foreign Ministry said.

"As a responsible state, Pakistan will grant consular access to Commander Kulbushan Jadhav according to Pakistani laws, for which modalities are being worked out," it said.

Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" in April 2017 following which India had moved the International Court of Justice, seeking a stay on his death sentence and further remedies.

A 16-member bench headed by President of the Court, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, by 15-1 votes ordered Pakistan on Wednesday to undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.

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In its 42-page order, the court while rejecting Pakistan's objection to admissibility of the Indian application in the case, held that "a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review" of the sentence of Jadhav.

The bench, however, rejected some remedies sought by India, including annulment of the military court's decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India.

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