The International Court of Justice at The Hague in the Netherlands is set to deliver its verdict in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian citizen who is on death row in Pakistan, on Wednesday. Pakistan claimed Jadhav had been spying for India’s Research & Analysis Wing when he was caught in 2017.
The International Court of Justice said in a statement earlier this month that a public sitting of the court will take place at 3 pm local time (6.30 pm Indian Standard Time) at the Peace Palace. Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, the president of the court, will read out the verdict. The International Court of Justice had concluded its hearing on February 21.
The verdict will come days after a meeting between Indian and Pakistani delegates at the Wagah border to finalise the modalities of the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims.
There is a possibility that the ICJ may ask Pakistan to hold a fresh trial of Jadhav, with two other cases also having involved Indians in Pakistani jails, according to The Economic Times. Sarabjit Singh, was convicted in Pakistan of terrorism and spying in 1991 for a series of blasts in Lahore and Faisalabad the year before. He died in May 2013 after being attacked by fellow inmates at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail. The second case was that of Mumbai resident Hamid Nehal Ansari, who had been in prison in Pakistan since 2015 for illegally crossing the border, was released last year.
On July 11, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal had said that he cannot “prejudge” the judgement of the International Court of Justice. He, however, said that Pakistan has fully contested the case before court.
“Pakistan claims to have clinching evidence on the basis of articles in the Indian press,” advocate Harish Salve told The Economic Times. “The story contradicts facts in Pakistan’s FIR. Unlike Pakistan, India has never needed to deny nationality of its nationals. Indian nationals are not the kind whose nationality needs to be denied.” He also argued that Pakistan had made three attempts to derail proceedings in the ICJ, all of which failed.
Kulbhushan Jadhav is on death row in Pakistan after he was charged with allegedly spying for India in 2016. India had moved the international court against the death sentence in May 2017, after which his execution was stayed.
Pakistan has repeatedly denied India consular access to Jadhav. The latest was on April 6 when Pakistan said India’s request for consular access to Jadhav was “not appropriate” at this point because a verdict on his case is pending at the International Court of Justice.
India has contended before the Hague court that this is a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, Article 36 of which says that consular officers have the right to visit a national of their country who is detained or taken into custody in on foreign shores “to converse and correspond with him and to arrange for his legal representation”. India maintains that Jadhav, a former naval officer, was working on his private business in Iran when he was kidnapped by Pakistan.