Amidst fresh Indo-Pak tensions, the public hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case commenced today before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday. Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. The hearings at the ICJ will take place four days after one of the worst terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 41 CRPF soldiers.
Jadhav was apprehended on March 3, 2016 after illegally crossing into Pakistan from Iran, according to Pakistani officials. Indian officials say he was abducted from Iran and taken to Pakistan against his will.
India first approached the ICJ on May 8, 2017 for the "egregious violation" of the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963 by Pakistan by repeatedly denying it consular access to Jadhav.
A 10-member bench of the ICJ, which was set up after World War II to resolve international disputes, on May 18, 2017 had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.
The ICJ has set a timetable for the public hearing in the high-profile case from February 18 to 21, 2019, in The Hague.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar declined to go into the details of it.
"The oral proceedings on the International Court of Justice are commencing on February 18. India will present its case before the court. Since the matter is sub judice, it is not appropriate for me to state our position in public. Whatever we have to do, we will do in the court," he said in response to a question.
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The ICJ will hold public hearings in the Jadhav case from Monday to Thursday, according to the ICJ website.
However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.
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