New Delhi: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) — the judicial arm of the United Nations — will deliver its final verdict on Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on a death row in Pakistan on espionage and terrorism charges, at the Peace Palace in The Hague Wednesday.
The verdict will be read out by judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, president of the court — it is expected to be pronounced at 6:30 pm Indian Standard Time.
The Ministry of External Affairs has sent a team led by Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran), Ministry of External Affairs, and India’s Ambassador to the Netherlands Venu Rajamony to the country.
Jadhav, 49, is a retired Indian Navy officer who was arrested by Pakistani authorities in March 2016. He was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April 2017, a trial that India had termed “farcical”. The case had reached the ICJ in May 2017. The court had ordered an interim stay on Jadhav’s execution until the adjudication of the case.
ThePrint provides a detailed timeline of the events that have unfolded since Jadhav’s arrest three years ago:
3 March, 2016: Jadhav is arrested by Pakistani authorities from Balochistan. They claim he was working for the Indian intelligence agency R&AW.
25 March, 2016: The Indian government is informed of Jadhav’s arrest. India seeks immediate consular access but Pakistan denies the request.
Also read: International Court of Justice to deliver Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict on 17 July
29 March, 2016: Pakistan releases a video of Jadhav that shows the former Indian navy man “confessing” that he was working for the Indian Navy and also conducting operations at the behest of R&AW. He also “confesses” to being assigned by R&AW to “plan, coordinate and organise espionage and sabotage aiming to destabilise and wage war against Pakistan”.
21 September, 2016: Pakistan’s military court begins hearing Jadhav’s case based on an FIR in which15 individuals are listed as his alleged accomplices. Among those named are the National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and the former R&AW chief Alok Joshi.
7 December, 2016: Sartaj Aziz, an adviser to former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on foreign affairs, says that there is no evidence against Jadhav but he later retracts his statements.
31 December, 2016: Pakistan says it will hand over a dossier on Jadhav to the United Nations.
6 January, 2017: Pakistan hands over the dossier. This is done by the country’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi, who delivers the dossier on “India’s interference and terrorism” in Pakistan to the UN secretary-general António Guterres. Lodhi also hands over a letter from the Pakistan Prime Minister’s adviser on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz.
10 April, 2017: A military court in Pakistan sentences Jadhav to death. A day before the verdict, the Indian Coast Guard and fishermen had saved the lives of two Pakistani sailors who had inadvertently crossed over to Indian waters off the Gujarat coast.
26 April, 2017: India is denied a request for consular access to Jadhav for the 16th time. Meanwhile, reports begin to appear in the Pakistani media alleging that Indian intelligence agencies have kidnapped a former Inter-Services Intelligence officer Lieutenant-Colonel Muhammad Habib Zahir in an effort to ensure a spy swap.
27 April, 2017: The then external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj writes to Pakistan seeking copies of the charge sheet, proceedings of the court of inquiry, the evidence and also the judgment handed out by the Pakistani military court.
Also read: How Pakistan tried to strong-arm ICJ at Kulbhushan Jadhav hearing
8 May, 2017: India moves a petition at the ICJ alleging a violation of the Vienna Convention on consular relations by Pakistan.
9 May, 2017: ICJ stays Jadhav’s death sentence, pending final orders.
15 May, 2017: Both India and Pakistan present their respective arguments at the ICJ.
18 May, 2017: ICJ once again stays the death sentence. The then ICJ president Ronny Abraham states that “Pakistan shall take all measures to ensure that Kulbhushan Jadhav is not executed”. India terms the ICJ order as a “great relief”.
22 June, 2017: Jadhav allegedly files a mercy petition before the Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. In a statement, the ISPR, the Pakistan military’s media wing, claims that Jadhav had sought “forgiveness for espionage, terrorist and subversive activities”. Pakistan eventually rejects the plea.
25 December, 2017: Jadhav is allowed to meet his mother and wife while in custody.
8 January, 2018: Pakistan releases another video of Jadhav in which he claims he is still working for the Indian Navy. In response, the Indian government terms the video as yet another “propagandist exercise” by Pakistan. Jadhav also speaks about his meeting with his mother and wife. “My mother felt very happy seeing me in good shape and my physical fitness…They are taking care of me, they have not harmed me, they have not touched me,” he says in the video. “But I have to say one thing very important here, for the Indian public, Indian crowd, the Indian government and the Indian Navy, that my commission is not gone. I am a commissioned officer of the Indian Navy.”
17 April, 2018: India submits its second round of pleadings at the ICJ. “In keeping with the order of the International Court of Justice of January 17, 2018, India today (Tuesday) submitted its reply in the court in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
20 November, 2018: The then external affairs minister Swaraj seeks diplomatic access to Jadhav. “We have secured a stay on Jadhav’s execution from the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This matter is listed for hearing in February,” Swaraj says.
February 2019: Khawar Qureshi, who is representing Pakistan at the ICJ hearing, says India has demonstrated a lack of faith throughout the proceedings. A four-day hearing in the Jadhav case takes place at the UN court headquarters in The Hague amidst heightened tensions between the two countries following one of the worst terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir — the 14 February attack, allegedly by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad, which killed at least 40 CRPF soldiers.
4 July, 2019: ICJ says it will deliver its verdict in the case on 17 July.
Also read: As ICJ hears Kulbhushan Jadhav case, a look at what the international court is all about