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ICJ likely to deliver verdict on Kulbhushan Jadhav in summer of 2019

By Anuj Cariappa

The Hague, Feb 21: The International Court of Justice on said that it has not received any evidence that the ad-hoc judge for Pakistan is unable or unwilling to continue to exercise his duties in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.

Kulbhushan Jadhav

Pakistan, which presented its case on Tuesday, asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to adjourn the case, citing the illness of its ad-hoc judge Tassaduq Hussain Jillani who suffered a cardiac attack ahead of the hearing.

Kulbhushan Jadhav hearing: India objects to language used by Pakistan at ICJ

Islamabad submitted a request for the replacement of Pakistan's ad-hoc judge.

ICJ top judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, speaking on the appointment for an ad-hoc judge for Pakistan in the case, said: "In order to clear up any misunderstandings which may have arisen, we assure both parties of the smooth running of these proceedings in accordance of the principal of equality of the parties".

He said it should be noted that once a judge ad-hoc has been chosen in proceedings before the court and in the absence of any objection within the prescribed time-limit, his or her appointment as a judge ad-hoc in the case is confirmed by a letter of the court to the parties under article 35, paragraph 3 of the rules of court.

"Indeed, in the present case, judge ad-hoc Jillani was sent the case file and duly took part in all the previous stages of the proceedings," he said.

"He (Jillani) will receive all transcripts of oral proceedings and may also watch them by a webcast... It follows that the judge ad-hoc chosen by Pakistan for the current proceedings has been participating in the case and may continue to do so.

"Having began his duties, a judge ad-hoc serves the court like all his or her colleagues as an independent judge for the remainder of the case, including all subsequent phases, through to final judgement or until the case is otherwise removed from the general list," the ICJ top judge said.

The court has not received so far any evidence that judge ad-hoc Jillani is unable or unwilling to continue to exercise his duties as a judge ad-hoc in this case, he said.

ICJ top judge Yusuf said it is important to recall that even if a judge ad-hoc is not able to attend the hearing, he or she may be authorised by the court to take part in the subsequent deliberations.

Kulbhushan Jadhav case hearing at ICJ: Demand for Kulbhushan Jadhav's release outlandish, says Pak

Jadhav, 48, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.

India moved the ICJ in May 2017 for the "egregious violation" of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to Jadhav.

The four-day hearing in the Jadhav case opened Monday at the ICJ headquarters in The Hague amidst heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following one of the worst terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.

On Thursday, Pakistan will submit its final arguments.

The ICJ is expected to deliver its verdict in the summer of 2019.

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