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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Kulbhushan Jadhav’s hearing: Meet the ‘wise men’ behind the ICJ

India took Pakistan to the United Nations’ highest court in an attempt to save the life of Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav sentenced to death last month by a Pakistani military court after being convicted of espionage.

india Updated: May 19, 2017 08:57 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
The Hague
Presiding judge Ronny Abraham of France reads the World Court's verdict in the case brought by India against Pakistan in The Hague, Netherlands on May 18.
Presiding judge Ronny Abraham of France reads the World Court's verdict in the case brought by India against Pakistan in The Hague, Netherlands on May 18.(AP Photo)

The ICJ verdict on Thursday staying former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav’s execution was pronounced by its head Ronny Abraham, an international human rights law expert who has served in the Court of Justice of the European Communities.

Abraham is a member of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) since February 15, 2005 and the president of the court since February 6, 2015.

After months of bilateral tension, the ICJ ruling has come as a great relief to Jadhav’s family and the people of India, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing satisfaction on the judgement.

“Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings,” Abraham said while reading out the verdict.

The UN’s highest judicial body, which had earlier provisionally stayed Jadhav’s sentence on May 9, also instructed Pakistan to inform it “of all the measures taken in implementation of the present order”.

Abraham also served as the “Director of Legal Affairs at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1998-2005)”, according to the ICJ website.

Before his appointment to the ICJ, he served, from 1998 to 2005, as the head of the Legal Affairs Directorate at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in charge of advising the government on legal matters in the fields of general international public law, European Union law, international human rights law, the law of the sea and the Antarctic.

The ICJ president was a member of the French delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations (1998-2004) and the head of the French delegation to the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly (1998-2004).

He also spent time in academia, being a professor of international law, at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (until 1998).

Abraham also was an Associate Professor at the University of Paris X-Nanterre (1997-2003).

ICJ’s Vice-President Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf has been a member of the court since February 6, 2009 and its vice- president since February 6, 2015.

The Somalia-born judge has also served as a Legal Adviser and Director of the Office of International Standards and Legal Affairs (March 2001-January 2009).

Other judges of the ICJ include Dalveer Bhandari (India), Hisashi Owada (Japan), Christopher Greenwood (the UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), Joan E Donoghue (the US), Xue Hanqin (China), James Richard Crawford (Australia) and Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation).

Bhandari is a member of the ICJ since April 27, 2012 and his term is to expire on February 5, next year.

Justice Bhandari had a distinguished and successful career as an attorney at law for 23 years before he became a judge in the Indian higher judiciary in 1991.

The ICJ on Thursday also said, “The court also decides that, until it has given its final decision, it shall remain seized of the matters which form the subject matter of this order.”

First Published: May 19, 2017 08:52 IST

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