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ICJ verdict on death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav by Pakistan at 3:30pm today

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will on Thursday give its ruling on India’s appeal to stay the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged espionage.

The verdict will be announced at 3.30 pm Indian time, three days after the United Nations’ highest court in the Hague heard arguments by India and Pakistan.

A brief statement posted on the ICJ’s website said: “A public sitting will take place at 12 noon at the Peace Palace in The Hague, during which Judge Ronny Abraham, President of the Court, will read the court’s decision.”

Pakistan says Jadhav, 46, was arrested in March last year in the restive Balochistan province. In April, a military court sentenced him to death for alleged involvement in spying and subversive activities. India has contended he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar and his secret trial was a “farce”.

At the conclusion of the hearing on Monday, India asked the ICJ to direct the Pakistan government to “take all measures necessary to ensure that Mr Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav is not executed” pending a final judgement.

The ICJ should also direct the Pakistan government to report to the court about the action it has taken to stay Jadhav’s execution and to “ensure that no action is taken that might prejudice the rights of (India or Jadhav) with respect to any decision the court may render on the merits of the case”.

Pakistan, which argued that the ICJ did not have jurisdiction in Jadhav’s case, asked the court “to reject India’s request for the indication of provisional measures”, or a stay of the execution.

During the hearing, India’s lead attorney, former solicitor general Harish Salve said the country feared Jadhav could be executed even as his case was being heard by the ICJ. Pakistan, on the other hand, said there was “no urgency” in the matter.

India approached the ICJ on May 8 and accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by persistently denying consular access to Jadhav and conducting a “farcical trial” without a “shred of evidence”.

Pakistan claimed the Vienna Convention did not apply to a “spy” involved in terror activities and said India was using the world court as a stage for “political theatre”.

The two countries last faced off at the ICJ in 1999, when Pakistan approached the court over the shooting down by India of an Atlantique surveillance aircraft that killed 16 people. India had then used its declaration of 1974, which states the UN court would have no jurisdiction in disputes between Commonwealth states, to successfully argue that it could not take up the Atlantique case.

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