Decision of ICJ
In a major breakthrough in the Government of India’s efforts to save former Indian naval officer KulbhushanJadhav from the death sentence awarded to him by a Pakistan military court on charges of terrorism and spying for India’s intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague has stayed his execution. In a petition to the ICJ, India had accused Pakistan of gross violation of international laws.

In the petition filed, a team of lawyers listed out the details of the Jadhav case and the “egregious violations” of the Geneva convention that deals with Consular relations, including Pakistan’s refusal to give any details of Jadhav’s arrest and trial until after the death sentence was passed.

Departure from approach
India has rarely approached the ICJ in the past, given its hesitation to “internationalise” its bilateral relations, especially when it comes to Pakistan. However the Jadhav case required the extreme measure, as “Pakistan had refused to follow any established norm or principle.”

In the petition explaining the urgency, India said that “without the provisional measures requested, Pakistan will execute KulbhushanSudhirJadhav before the Court can consider the merits of India’s claims and India will forever be deprived of the opportunity to vindicate its rights”, indicating that a final appeal filed by Jadhav’s mother in the Pakistan Supreme Court could be adjudicated at any time, unless the international court acted.

What is ICJ
The International Court of Justice (French: Courinternationale de justice; commonly referred to as the World Court, ICJ or The Hague[) is the primary judicial branch of the United Nations (UN). Seated in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, the court settles legal disputes submitted to it by states and provides advisory opinions on legal questions submitted to it by duly authorized international branches, agencies, and the UN General Assembly.

Established in 1945 by the UN Charter, the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice. The Statute of the International Court of Justice, similar to that of its predecessor, is the main constitutional document constituting and regulating the Court.

The Court’s workload covers a wide range of judicial activity. After the court ruled that the United States’s covert war against Nicaragua was in violation of international law (Nicaragua v. United States), the United States withdrew from compulsory jurisdiction in 1986 to accept the court’s jurisdiction only on a case-by-case basis.[4] Chapter XIV of the United Nations Charter authorizes the UN Security Council to enforce Court rulings. However, such enforcement is subject to the veto power of the five permanent members of the Council, which the United States used in the Nicaragua case.

The ICJ is composed of fifteen judges elected to nine-year terms by the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council from a list of people nominated by the national groups in the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Elections are staggered, with five judges elected every three years to ensure continuity within the court.

(Adapted from The Hindu)