ICJ to hold public hearings in Jadhav case in February next year


LONDON: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will hold public hearings in a case regarding Kulbhushan Jadhav, Indian Navy officer and convicted in Pakistan, in February next year, The Hague-based court announced on Wednesday.

The court, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, will conduct hearings in the case (India v. Pakistan) from February 18 to Feb 21, 2019, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, a press release said.

“The hearings will be streamed live and on demand (VOD) in English and French on the Court’s website as well as on UN Web TV, the United Nations online television channel,” said the press release issued by the ICJ.

According to a schedule issued on the ICJ website, India and Pakistan will present their oral arguments for three hours on Feb 18 and 19, respectively, in the first round of hearings. In the second round, India will present its argument for 1.5 hours on Feb 20 while Pakistan will do the same on Feb 21.

Pakistan had in July this year filed its second counter-memorial in the Jadhav case in the ICJ. With the filing of the counter-memorial by Pakistan, the process of written submissions in the case by both parties (India and Pakistan) had completed.

The voluminous 400-page written pleading submitted by Pakistan argued that the Vienna Convention is not applicable in the case of Jadhav, who is a commissioned officer in Indian Navy and was serving with spy agency RAW at the time of his capture in Pakistan in March 2016.

Jadhav was later sentenced to death in 2017 by a military tribunal for his involvement in espionage. His appeals against the conviction have been rejected by the military appellate court and the mercy petition is pending with Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

India had approached the ICJ against Pakistan for allegedly violating Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by denying consular access to Jadhav immediately after his capture. Pakistan had last December hosted Jadhav’s meeting with his wife and mother as a humanitarian gesture.

The court had soon after accepting the Indian petition held a single round of oral hearings following which the Pakistan government was restrained from executing Jadhav till its final verdict in the case. Two rounds of written submissions by both parties followed.