The verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case has been met with a collective sigh of relief in India. Besides ruling in India’s favour by 15 votes to 1, the court has stayed Jadhav’s execution, citing Pakistan’s breach of Article 36(1) of the Vienna Convention, which stipulates that all foreign detainees be granted consular access in the country of detention. The ICJ has also ordered Pakistan to review his conviction and sentence.

Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer, was arrested in 2016 by Pakistani forces. He was charged with espionage for India and put on death row. Securing his release has been an Indian foreign office goal since then. At the Hague, India argued that a military court trial in Pakistan was out of line with global norms; also, that Islamabad had violated the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations as it did not let Indian diplomats meet Jadhav. While this part of the argument has been won, India still awaits the annulment of his death sentence. He is still in Pakistani custody. It is only after his safe return that we can celebrate. For now, his being saved from the gallows should do.

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