The International Court of Justice (ICJ) Monday (May 15) reserved its judgment on India's appeal for a provisional stay on the execution of its citizens, Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, who was convicted of espionage and sentenced to death last month by Pakistan.
India asked the ICJ judges on Monday to order Islamabad to stay the execution of Jadhav, a case that has escalated tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.
India argued in a preliminary hearing that Pakistan had violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by denying the condemned man access to legal and other assistance from India.
Pakistan told the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that India is using the court as a stage for political theatre, adding that solid evidences were provided regarding alleged spy's 'activities'. Pakistan also said India has been unable to provide an explanation for Jadhav's passport which bears a Muslim name.
Monday's hearings focused on India's request for so-called "provisional measures" that can be granted at short notice to ensure a dispute between states does not deteriorate during full ICJ proceedings, which typically take several years.
India Monday demanded immediate suspension of Kulbhushan Jadhav's death sentence, expressing fears that Pakistan could execute him even before the hearing at the ICJ was over.
"Jadhav has not got the right to get proper legal assistance and the right to consular access," India told the court in opening remarks.
At the core of the dispute is the fate of Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, an Indian former naval officer who was arrested in March 2016 in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province.
India, in its appeal to the ICJ, had asserted that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he was involved in business activities after retiring from the Indian Navy.
According to Pakistan, Jadhav confessed to being tasked by India's intelligence service with planning, coordinating and organizing espionage and sabotage activities in Balochistan "aiming to destabilize and wage war against Pakistan".
However, the ICJ declined to play the alleged confessional video of Jadhav when Pakistan offered it as evidence during the afternoon session of the court.
In April, a Pakistani military court sentenced him to death. No date was set for the execution. Pakistan has said Jadhav's conviction and sentence remain open to appeal.
On May 8, India moved the ICJ against the death penalty, alleging violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
India's representative at the ICJ hearing described the charges against Jadhav as "concocted" and his trial as "farcical."
The hearings were being held in front of 11 of the court's 15 judges, including President Ronny Abraham of France, and Indian Judge Dalveer Bhandari. The judges are elected for nine year terms by the Security Council and General Assembly.
The ICJ decisions are final and binding. However, it has no means to enforce rulings and they have occasionally been ignored.