NEW DELHI: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) today unanimously stayed Pakistan’s execution of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav until it rules on the merits of the case.

The ICJ ruled that there is the possibility of “irrevocable prejudice to the rights of Jadhav. In its plea to the court, India had expressed the fear that Jadhav might be executed even while the hearing at the ICJ was on.

“Without prejudging the result, the ICJ considers that the risk or irreparable prejudice, the mere fact that Jadhav is under such a sentence and might be executed, is sufficient to demonstrate such a risk. There is considerable uncertainty as to when decision on any appeal is rendered or when Jadhav will be executed,” said ICJ President Judge Ronny Abraham.

Pakistan cannot execute Indian national Jadhav until it makes a final decision in the proceedings of the case, the ICJ said. It added that it indeed has jurisdiction in the case, superceding a 2008 agreement between India and Pakistan.

The ICJ also said that its ruling is binding.

Read also: ICJ’s press release on court proceedings

“The court reaffirms that its orders under provisional measures are binding and create a legal obligation,” up countries that are signatories to the Vienna Convention.

A Pakistani military court sentenced Jadhav to death last month.

India approached the ICJ on May 8 asking for a stay on Jadhav’s death sentence, in addition to granting three other provisional measures it has sought against Pakistan, pending the court’s decision on the merits of the case.

The ICJ granted these measures after a public hearing was conducted on May 15..

India argued that its case is solely based on the violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) optional protocol. This protocol accords the ICJ primacy in any dispute arising out of the interpretation of the VCCR.

Pakistan, on the other hand, wanted the ICJ to acknowledge its argument that the bilateral agreement on consular access takes precedence over the VCCR.Jadhav, a former Navy officer, was arrested in March 2016 from Balochistan, Pakistan claimed. He was awarded the death sentence by a Pakistani military court on April 10 this year for alleged espionage and subversive activities.

India stated that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he was involved in business activities after retiring from the Indian Navy.

(TIMES OF INDIA)