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ICJ to hold public hearings in Kulbhushan Jadhav case from Feb 18 amid fresh Indo-Pak tensions

Amidst fresh Indo-Pak tensions, top legal eagles of the two countries will present their arguments in the high-profile Kulbhushan Jadhav case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) here from Monday during four days of public hearings.

Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India moved the ICJ in May the same year against the “farcical trial” by the military court of Pakistan against 48-year-old Jadhav. 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 in The Hague. 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. The terror attack happened when a suicide bomber of Pakistan-backed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) blew up an explosive-laden vehicle near a convoy of CRPF buses in Pulwama district on Thursday.

India on Friday summoned the Pakistan high commissioner to issue a very strong demarche over the terror attack. On Saturday, India hiked the customs duty to 200 per cent on all goods imported from Pakistan, following revocation of the Most Favoured Nation status following the Pulwama attack. Former solicitor general Harish Salve is expected to represent India while Pakistan will be represented by Barrister Khawar Qureshi at the ICJ. While India will argue first on February 18, Pakistan will get its chance to make submissions on February 19. Then India will reply on February 20 while Islamabad will make its closing submissions on February 21.

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