Kulbhushan Jadhav: ICJ to pronounce verdict today

New Delhi: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will pronounce the verdict in the Kulbushan Jadhav case on Wednesday. The judgment carries significant weight as far as India’s bilateral ties with Pakistan are concerned.

Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, President of the Court, will read out the verdict of the top international court at 3 pm (6.30 pm IST) today in a public sitting at the Peace Palace in The Hague.

It has been almost five months since India urged the ICJ to annul the death sentence handed by a Pakistani military court to former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav.

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Background of the case:

Pakistan claims that its security forces had arrested Jadhav from Balochistan province on March 3, 2016, after he entered the country from Iran. India, on the other hand, maintains that he was kidnapped from Iran, where he had held business interests after retiring from the Navy.

The 10-member bench of the ICJ has restrained Pakistan from executing Kulbhushan Jadhav until the conclusion of the case.

On May 8, 2017, India challenged the Pakistani court’s ability to pass judgment, maintaining that Pakistan violated the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations as Pakistan did not allow consular access to Jadhav.

Pakistan countered India’s allegations at ICJ regarding the relevance of the Vienna Convention. The primary argument of Pakistan is that since Jadhav is an Indian spy who illegally entered Pakistan, he was not entitled to receive consular access.

Kulbhushan Jadhav: ICJ to pronounce verdict today
Kulbhushan Jadhav ( File Photo)

After much pressure and criticism, Pakistan, on December 2017, was forced to arrange a meeting between Jadhav and his mother and wife as per Islamic traditions but on humanitarian grounds. India, however, criticised the manner in which Jadhav’s two family members were treated in Islamabad. Despite multiple requests by New Delhi, Islamabad has been refusing consular access to Jadhav; Pakistan claims that India is desperate to extract information gathered by its “spy”.

In conclusion, the ICJ is not expected to reach a conclusion that Jadhav is an Indian spy. Most likely, Pakistan will be asked to desist from carrying out the death sentence and start Jadhav’s fresh trial in a ‘civilian’ court with full legal recourse, including consular access.

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