ISLAMABAD   -   The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday initiated its four-day public hearing regarding Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav at The Hague, Netehrlands, with India making its legal submissions on the first day.

A 15-member panel of ICJ judges heard the arguments from Joint Secretary of Indian External Affairs Ministry Deepak Mittal at the Peace Palace – the seat of the Court, from  2 pm to 5 pm Pakistan Standard Time.

The case proceedings were shown live from the courtroom and shared by the ICJ’s website for real-time update of the viewers worldwide.

India’s Counsel Advocate Harish Salve, who had also earlier represented the country in the same case, presented his statement before the court, that mostly appeared to be based on repetition of points raised in previous proceedings.

Salve highlighted the issues including denial of consular access by Pakistan and its breach of Article 36(1)(b) of the Vienna Convention – the similar arguments that India came up with during maiden statement of objections.

He opposed the death penalty announced by Pakistan, citing it contrary to the fundamental rights and also argued against the decision made by Pakistan’s military court for trying a civilian.

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On Pakistan’s earlier objection on India facilitating Jadhav’s 17 times travel on his passport with cover name Hussein Mubarik Patel, the Indian counsel merely termed it ‘untrue’ without presenting any supporting facts.

Pakistan’s Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan and Director General South Asia Dr Mohammad Faisal as Agent and Co-Agent respectively and senior officials of the Pakistan government were present in the courtroom.

Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, who was due to sit in the panel as Judge Ad hoc along with ICJ’s regular judges, could not continue with the hearing for being unwell and was immediately shifted to hospital.

The court adjourned the proceedings till Tuesday 2-5 pm (PST) where English Queen’s Counsel Barrister Khawar Qureshi will present the arguments from Pakistan side.

Pakistan has maintained that responsibility to punish terrorists lay with the states and it is beyond the jurisdiction of ICJ to hear this case. It has also raised questions regarding the authenticity of Indian passport of Jadhav who had travelled 17 times to India with his cover name as Hussein Mubarik Patel.

Jadhav was arrested on March 3, 2016 in a counter-intelligence operation from Balochistan’s Mashkel area. India on May 9, 2017 had invoked the jurisdiction of ICJ following the death sentence of Jadhav announced by Pakistan’s military court on charges of espionage and sabotage activities in Karachi and Balochistan.