Proceedings instituted by Australia against Japan (Australia v. Japan)

On 31 May 2010 the Government of Australia initiated legal action before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague in order to stop Japanese ‘scientific’ whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.

Commercial whaling was banned by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1986. However, Japan defends its whaling as scientific research because data is collected on the whale's age, diet, and birthing rate, before packaging and selling the meat.  They argue that Article 8 of the 1946 International Whaling Convention allows countries to obtain special permits “to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research”.

Australia argues that the country’s annual killing of whales in the Southern Ocean violates international obligations, in a major escalation of its campaign against the hunt. In particular Australia alleges that the Japanese Government continued to breach its obligations under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), as well as its obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Moreover Australia points out that the main obligations that Japan is continuing to breach concern the implementation of the JARPA II programme (Japanese Whale Research Programme under Special Permit in the Antarctic) that cannot be justified under Article VIII of the ICRW, which regulates the granting of special permits to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research.

For these reasons Australia requests the Court to adjudge and declare that “Japan is in breach of its international obligations in implementing the JARPA II programme in the Southern Ocean”, and to order that Japan:

- cease implementation of JARPA II;

- revoke any authorisations, permits or licenses allowing the activities which are the subject of this application to be undertaken;

- provide assurances and guarantees that it will not take any further action under the JARPA II or any similar programme until such programme has been brought into conformity with its obligations under international law.

Page Tools
Share |