Kulbhushan Jadhav judgment at ICJ today: All you need to know about President of the Court Ronny Abraham

Ten days after India approached The Hague-based International Court of Justice demanding an immediate suspension of the death sentence given to former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by a Pakistani military court, UN's top court will pronounce its verdict at noon local time (3.30 pm IST).

In an emergency hearing swiftly organised on 15 May, counsels for New Delhi had urged the court to halt the execution of Jadhav. He was arrested in the southwestern province of Balochistan last year and Pakistani officials claimed he had confessed to spying for Indian intelligence services RAW. He was convicted by a court martial and sentenced to death.

File image of ICJ President Judge Ronny Abraham. Image courtesy: Twitter

File image of ICJ President Judge Ronny Abraham. Image courtesy: Twitter

India has denied Jadhav was a spy, and accused Pakistan of "egregious violations of the Vienna convention" by denying him access to legal counsel and consular visits, and refusing to reveal the chargesheet against him. Jadhav was "an innocent Indian national, who, incarcerated in Pakistan for more than a year on concocted charges ... has been held incommunicado... and faces imminent execution," lawyer Deepak Mittal told the tribunal.

But Pakistani representatives accused New Delhi of "political grandstanding" and told the court Jadhav "has confessed to having been sent by India to wage terror on the innocent civilians and infrastructure of Pakistan".

The UN tribunal, based in The Hague, said in a statement it "will deliver its order on the request for the indication of provisional measures made by India in the Jadhav Case (India versus Pakistan)... on Thursday 18 May, 2017".

President of the Court Ronny Abraham, will read out the decision at midday local time (3.30 pm IST). The case — a rare foray for the two nations into the international courts after 18 years — has highlighted the recent sharp uptick in tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

"A public sitting will take place at 12 noon at the Peace Palace in The Hague, during which Judge Ronny Abraham, President of the Court, will read the court's decision," the international court said in a release on Wednesday.

The ICJ ruling also made it clear that "pending the meeting of the court, the President may call upon the parties to act in such a way as will enable any order the court may make on the request for provisional measures to have its appropriate effects."

As the world court prepares to read out the judgment in this highly-awaited case, here's what we know about the president of ICJ — Ronny Abraham.

Abraham became the member of ICJ on 15 February 2005. He was elected as the president of the UN court on 6 February 2015. Before the ICJ appointment, from 1998 to 2005, as head of the Legal Affairs Directorate at the French ministry of foreign affairs, he was 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.

A government advisor and the former director of legal affairs in the foreign ministry, Abraham had served as a judge on this court since 2005. His election illustrated the influence of French law and the vitality of French-speaking nations on international legal bodies.

Abraham was also a judge at the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Communities. Speaking about international justice system in 2003, Abraham had said, "International justice is a long-drawn-out affair. Its establishment is an ongoing and gradual process, and always a difficult one. In practice, it is an ideal we seek to attain but where much still remains to be done. We must avoid excessive idealism and naivety, but also too much cynicism. The last few decades have shown that international justice has made genuine progress. On the other hand we must not believe that the stage has been reached where all the major political issues facing the world can be settled in the courts."


Updated Date: May 18, 2017 12:29 PM

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