WHALES AND DOLPHINS : OUR OWN STAR BEINGS … “Japan’s Whaling Harpooned by the International Court of Justice”
“In a stunning victory for the whales, the International Court of
Justice (ICJ) in The Hague announced their binding decision today in the
landmark case of Australia v. Japan, ruling that Japan’s JARPA II
whaling program in the Antarctic is not for scientific purposes and
ordering that all permits given under JARPA II be revoked. The news was
applauded and celebrated by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA and
Sea Shepherd Australia, both of which have directly intervened against
Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.
“Representing Sea Shepherd in the courtroom to hear the historic
verdict were Captain Alex Cornelissen, Executive Director of Sea
Shepherd Global and Geert Vons, Director of Sea Shepherd Netherlands.
They were accompanied by Sea Shepherd Global’s Dutch legal counsel… (read more)
Today the UN International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s whaling program in the Antarctic is illegal.
Even after the International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned
commercial whaling, Japan has continued to kill whales – and sell the
meat for profit – by exploiting a loophole in the convention that allows countries to take whales “for purposes of scientific research.” Today’s decision
finds in no uncertain terms that Japan’s hunt was NOT “for purposes of
scientific research” and therefore in violation of international law and
the IWC’s ban on commercial whaling.
This is a huge victory for whale conservation. The landmark ruling
means that thousands of whales will no longer be slaughtered under the
guise of science. It also means that whales will once again be safe in
the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
In a vote of 12 to 4, the court ruled that there were several aspects
of Japan’s “scientific whaling” program – which has killed thousands of
whales since its inception – that cast doubt “on its characterization
as a programme for purposes of scientific research.” Those factors
include the fact Japan did not consider using non-lethal methods; the
scale of Japan’s program and number of whales taken; the open-ended time
frame of the program; its limited scientific output to date; and the
lack of cooperation between Japan and other domestic and international
research programs in the Antarctic Ocean.
The court then ordered Japan to revoke all permits and “license[s] to
kill” in the Antarctic and refrain from granting any new permits. The
decision is final, with no possibility of appeal.
Commendably, Japan has said that it will abide by the decision.
This is a historic ruling that will revitalize our ongoing efforts to
save the whales. There are only three countries that still kill whales
for commercial purposes – Japan, Iceland, and Norway. Today’s decision
sets the legal bar that there is no place for commercial whaling in the
21st Century. Now is the time to end commercial whaling once and for all.
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