Japan in the dock: Australia and New Zealand go to court over whaling

Whaling on Wetpixel

A hearing is currently underway in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), The Hague, Netherlands which will rule over Japan’s use of a “scientific” rationale for continuing whaling in the Southern Oceans. Australia brought the case against Japan in the ICJ, which is highest court in the world. Historically, Japan has justified its whaling by using Article VIII of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which allows for the harvesting of animals for research purposes. Throughout last week, Australia presented evidence that showed that the whaling was not for scientific purposes, and that there has been no peer-reviewed research carried out despite the Japanese fleet catching significant numbers of whales. Some feel that the “evidence against Japan is so damning that the anti-whaling landscape has changed forever.”

Japan will begin its defense tomorrow, and it is expected that they will attack the court’s jurisdiction in this issue, rather than the legality of their actions. Full live and recorded coverage of the case can be viewed on the ICJ’s Webcam and transcripts of the case are also available as pdf downloads.