Japan’s legal counsel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague is mounting their final defense in the case brought by Australia against their scientific whaling program, JARPA II. Japan’s counsel, Payam Akhavan, has said that their main allegation against Japan has a “fatal flaw,” and that is the record of debate at the International Whaling Commission.
Australia claims that the JARPA II program, which has already killed more than 10,000 whales under article 8 in the treaty, does not have the element of true science. For the past 26 years, this has been debated by the IWC’s scientific committee. Akhavan says that article 8 does not require scientific consensus but just scientific purpose, and on that reason alone, the JARPA II is legal. The best they can say is that there has been a scientific disagreement over the whaling program.
This is Japan’s last chance to defend itself in front of the 16 judges at the ICJ. Australia gave their final arguments last week as counsel James Crawford said that Japan should be held accountable for a program that has no scientific basis whatsoever, but is just an excuse to randomly hunt the whales in order to sell their meat. Akhavan said that Australia’s accusations are an affront to Japan’s dignity and that they have an “incredible shrinking case,” since they were focusing on JARPA II instead of the original case that attacked all of their whaling programs. “What constitutes as science in this case is not an abstract academic question … it is a legal question to be decided by the applicable rules,” Akhavan said.
[ via Canberra Times ]