Sunday 28 July 2013

Whaling court case decision could take up to six months


Australia’s case against Japan in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) - Whaling in the Antarctic Australia v. Japan - wrapped up on 17 July with final submissions from both parties. Hearings had commenced on 26 June.

It has been a little over three years since Australia commenced ICJ proceedings in an effort to bring an end to Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling program (JARPA II).

In summing up, Mr. Bill Campbell QC (Australian Attorney-General’s Department) called upon the ICJ to find that Japan’s Scientific Permit whaling in the Southern Ocean is in breach of its international obligations by conducting whaling for commercial purposes during the moratorium declared by the International Whaling Commission, and by taking endangered fin whales within the Southern Ocean Sanctuary. Moreover, the ICJ is asked to “adjudge and declare that Japan shall … cease with immediate effect the implementation of JARPA II.”

Japan’s final position was brief, with Mr. Koji Tsuruoka (Japan’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs) requesting that the IJC declares itself not to have the jurisdiction to make a decision in the matter or, failing that, to reject Australia’s claims.

The Court will now follow a process involving private meetings, exchanges of documents and ballots before a final vote is taken. There is no deadline for the decision; it might be early next year before an outcome is announced.


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