The United Nation's highest court has ordered Pakistan not to execute an Indian naval officer who has been convicted of spying and terrorism.
The International Court of Justice unanimously ruled Thursday that Kulbhushan Jadhav should not be executed pending the outcome of a suit filed by India that alleges Pakistan violated Jadhav's right to consular and attorney access after his arrest last year. Jadhav was convicted in Pakistan and sentenced to death on April 10.
Pakistan contended that Jadhav's rights were not breached and that the court's order to stay his execution was unnecessary because it was not imminent. A Pakistani lawyer added that a bilateral agreement allows either country to make decisions on consular access in cases involving politics or security.
At hearings Monday, Indian lawyers maintained Pakistan had violated the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
Pakistani representative Mohammad Faisal on Monday showed judges a copy of an Indian passport Jadhav was said to have been carrying at the time of his arrest in the name of Hussein Mubarak Patel. The representative said the passport was an "obvious indication of covert and illegal activity." Faisal said Jadhav "confessed to having been sent by India to wage terror on the innocent civilians and infrastructure of Pakistan."
The case could take years to settle so judges issued Thursday's order to ensure Jadhav is not executed before the case ends.
Rulings by the U.N.'s highest court are final and binding on the countries involved.