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The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations is an international treaty that establishes a framework for sovereign states' consular relations. Many consular practices that arose from state custom and other bilateral agreements between states are codified in it.

Consuls have traditionally been employed to represent the interests of countries or their citizens in another country's embassy or consulate. The Convention outlines and articulates the functions, rights, and immunities bestowed on consular officers and their offices, as well as the rights and responsibilities of receiving States and sending States.

Following the United Nations Conference on Consular Relations, which took place in Vienna, Austria from March 4 to April 22, 1963, the Convention was adopted on April 24, 1963.


In 1965, India signed the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. To give effect to the Vienna Convention, India adopted the Diplomatic Relations (Vienna Convention) Act, 1972.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) told the United Nations General Assembly in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case that Pakistan had breached the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by refusing Jadhav consular access. Pakistan had asserted incorrectly that the convention did not apply to anyone suspected of espionage in this case. The ICJ further stated that Pakistan's notification of Jadhav's arrest to the Indian consulate three weeks after his arrest was in contravention of the convention's requirements.


In April 2017, a Pakistani military court sentenced Kulbhushan Jadhav to death on allegations of espionage and terrorism.

India filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Pakistan for denying Jadhav consular access (Vienna Convention) and contesting his death sentence.

In July 2019, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Pakistan must conduct a "effective review and reconsideration" of Jadhav's conviction and sentence, as well as provide India immediate consular access.

It had asked Pakistan to offer a proper mechanism for appealing the military court's sentence against Jadhav.


Effective review and reconsideration is a phrase that is not to be confused with the term "review" as used in a domestic setting. It entails granting consular access and assisting Jadhav with his defense preparation

It meant Pakistan to provide the charges as well as the proof, which it had kept secret up to that point. Pakistan was also asked to reveal the circumstances in which the military compelled Jadhav to confess. It meant that Jadhav was to defend himself in whatever venue or court that hears his case. 


The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the United Nations' main judicial body (UN). As the successor of the Permanent Court of International Justice, it was founded in 1945 by a UN Charter and began operation in 1946.

It resolves legal disputes between member countries and provides advice to UN Organs and Specialized Agencies.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) approved India's request for consular access for Kulbhushan Jadhav and agreed that Pakistan had violated the rights set forth in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.


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