The International Court of Justice at The Hague will deliver its verdict at 6:30 pm today on India's appeal against the death sentence given to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav by a Pakistani military court. The judgement will read out by a 16-member bench at a public sitting of the United Nations court.
The ICJ, in a statement earlier this month, said a public sitting will take place at 3 pm (6:30 pm IST) on July 17 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, during which top judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf will read out the verdict.
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 Kulbhushan Jadhav till adjudication of the case.
Harish Salve, who was representing India in the case, questioned the functioning of Pakistan's notorious military courts and urged the top UN court to annul the death sentence, which is based on an "extracted confession".
In what India has termed as a "farcical trial" in Pakistan, Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism". India has maintained that these charges are false, and that Mr Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran, where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.
Pakistan's claim is that its security forces had "arrested" Mr Jadhav from Balochistan on March 3, 2016, after he allegedly entered the country from Iran. Pakistan however, has since the start, denied any consular access to India.
India has asserted that Pakistan's military has violated the Vienna Convention not only by denying access to him, but also by extracting a forced confession from him by torturing him in captivity. A month after Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death, India took Pakistan to the world court, and the execution was stayed by the ICJ in May 2017.
India further asserted that Pakistan was using Kulbhushan Jadhav as a "pawn" to divert attention from its own conduct - state sponsorship of terrorism.
A four-day public hearing in the high-profile case took place in February at the world court amidst heightened tension between India and Pakistan following a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed. Over 40 soldiers were killed in the suicide terror attack on February 14.
The verdict today will be delivered by a 16-member bench of the ICJ. The bench will include: President Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf - from Somalia, Vice-President Xue Hanqin - from China, and judges - Dalveer Bhandari from India, Tassaduq Hussain Jillani from Pakistan, Peter Tomka from Slovakia, Ronny Abraham from France, Mohamed Bennouna from Morocco, Antonio Augusto Cancado Trindade from Brazil, Joan E. Donoghue from USA, Giorgio Gaja from Italy, Julia Sebutinde from Uganda, Patrick Lipton Robinson from Jamaica, James Richard Crawford from Australia, Kirill Gevorgian from Russia, Nawaf Salam from Lebanon, Yuji Iwasawa from Japan, and Philippe Gautier from Belgium.