The Japanese government has expressed its serious concern that it might not be afforded a fair trial in the whaling case filed against it by Australia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This was in relation to the court naming New Zealand as intervenor in the case, effectively allowing it a seat in the bench. The government finds “serious anomalies” in said admission, especially since New Zealand, similar to Australia, is an anti-whaling country.
In November, New Zealand filed an application with the ICJ to intervene in the case, over the objection of Japan. While the court’s internal rules exclude the possibility of appointing a judge “ad hoc” where two or more parties to the case have similar interests, and one has a member of the court of the same nationality, it nevertheless approved New Zealand’s intervention, saying that the Pacific country is not a full “party” to the proceedings and could only make observations. As such, the ICJ believes that its presence does not affect the equality of Japan and Australia in this anti-whaling case.
Despite having voted to allow the intervention, Justice Hisashi Owada, sole Japanese representative in the ICJ, asked to place on record his “serious reservation” on the court’s approach to the issue. He also said that he finds it regrettable that anti-whaling countries seem to be collaborating in their litigation strategy for their common interests. In the meantime, Australian National University international law professor Don Rothwell believes that the case going smoothly for Australia and New Zealand, and it will likely be heard in the second half of the current year.
[via The Age]