ICJ verdict today on Kulbhushan Jadhav

Updated - December 03, 2021 05:16 pm IST

Published - May 18, 2017 12:52 pm IST

The Indian delegation at the International Court of Justice in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.

The Indian delegation at the International Court of Justice in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.

In a few hours, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is expected to deliver its order on India’s request for the indication of provisional measures that could put a temporary halt on the execution of former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court on the charge of spying.

The case

As a rare case, India approached the ICJ, seeking relief in the form of immediate suspension of the death sentence and a declaration that the sentenced handed to Mr. Jadhav was in defiance of rights defined by the Vienna Convention and in violation of basic human rights. It also called for the court to restrain Pakistan from “giving effect to the sentence awarded by the military court” and to direct it to annul the court decision.

India's argument

India has accused Pakistan of “egregious violations” of the Vienna Convention on Consular Access. Pakistan has rejected counsular access 16 times so far.

India claims Mr. Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran, arrested and sentenced based on “concocted charges” and that the sentencing was not duly conveyed to India.


Pakistan's stand

Pakistan says it has a "confession video" of Mr. Jadhav saying he spied for India. It also argues that the Vienna Convention is not binding on espionage.

Pakistan has categorically rejected India's claim that Mr. Jadhav was kidnapped, saying he was arrested from Balochistan.

Is this the fastest verdict delivered so far by ICJ?

While it is not the fastest decision to have been made by the ICJ (in the LeGrand case that also involved a potential execution and was between Germany and the United States the order was given within a day), Thursday’s decision will be among the quickest.

Will the verdict be legally binding?

The decision only pertains to India’s request for the indication of provisional measures, and not on its wider application regarding Mr. Jadhav’s fate.

An order would be legally binding on Pakistan, unlike the letter that was sent to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last week, calling for the execution not to take place until the hearings happen.

Who will ensure the enforcement of the verdict?

The judgments of the ICJ are considered binding and are without appeal for the parties concerned. It is rare for a decision not be implemented. However, the court itself has no direct powers to ensure the implementation of its judgments and members States can approach the UN Security Council for matters relating to non-compliance with ICJ rulings.

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