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In case of an order not favourable, is ICJ ruling binding on Pakistan?

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New Delhi, July 17: Ahead of the crucial verdict at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding Kulbhushan Jadhav, a pertinent question that needs to be asked if the parties are bound by it.

If the ICJ were to rule in India's favour, will Pakistan have to abide by it?

In case of an order not favourable, is ICJ ruling binding on Pakistan?

Article 94 of the United Nations Charter says that all members of the United Nations have to comply with the decisions of the ICJ. In this case, both India and Pakistan have signed and ratified it.

How Kulbhushan Jadhav was abducted, sold to ISI and then framed

There is also an Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations for the compulsory settlement of disputes and both India and Pakistan are parties to this protocol as well.

The verdicts of the ICJ in contentious cases are final and without appeal. However there is no way that the ICJ can enforce its decisions. In such an event, the United Nations Security Council would come into picture. The UNSC can compel countries to follow the court's ruling.

Now this comes attached with some riders and problems as well. A judgment against one of the five permanent council members or its ally nations can be vetoed by that member. In case, Pakistan refuses to enforce the order, the question is will China stand in the way, like it did for long in the case of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief, Maulana Masood Azhar.

In this context one would need to recall the Republic of Nicaragua vs the United States case. The court decided in favour of Nicaragua and awarded reparations to Nicaragua. The US refused to take part in the proceedings and also blocked the enforcement of the judgment by the UNSC.

While countries are bound by the judgment, the other rider is that the UNSC can always refuse to intervene. If this is the case, then there is no way that the judgment can be enforced. Lastly, there can be a coercive measure that the UNSC can adopt. This can be done only if international peace is at stake and this option has never been taken so far.

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