New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully confirmed that they are joining the case against Japan's whaling practices at the International Court of Justice. Australia brought the case to the ICJ in May 2010, but public hearings are about to start this June at The Hague in Netherlands.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nation’s highest court, has announced that it will proceed with public hearings regarding Australia’s case against Japan’s annual whaling hunt in Antarctic waters. The case was brought before UN’s highest judicial organ in May 2010, as Australia questioned Japan’s continuing large-scale whaling program where it claims that the Asian nation is in breach of international conventions.
The Institute of Cetacean Research, the managing government agency for Japanese whaling activities, has criticized the Australian government for tolerating the activities of hardline conservationists that have interfered with and caused damage to its whaling fleet. They cited the federal government being a safe harbor for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the number one enemy of the annual whale hunt initiated by the Japanese government for "research" purposes.
Despite repeated refusals by the Australian federal government, Japan continues to state that it would be open to Australia sending a customs or navy vessel to the Southern Ocean to monitor the annual whale hunt. Tetsuro Amano, Japan's deputy head of mission to Australia, says the country would welcome such a vessel as it would witness first-hand the conduct of anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd.
Environmental extremist group Sea Shepherd is now trying to have criminal charges filed against Japanese whalers in the Netherlands. As two of the group's ships sail under Dutch flags, they the country's authorities to prosecute the Japanese for acts of piracy for intentionally ramming their ships during their recent scuffle in the Southern Ocean.
The fleet and crew of the extremist anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd arrived in Australia on Wednesday, claiming victory in this year's campaign against Japan's whalers, and calling for free passage for founder Paul Watson. Three of their four ships, the Steve Irwin, Bob Barker, and Sam Simon docked with an estimated $1.03 million in damages, while the fourth ship, the Brigitte Bardot, remains at an undisclosed location with Watson believed to be aboard, as he is still wanted by Interpol.
Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd revealed that a Japanese whaling vessel is apparently returning to its hunting grounds in the Southern Ocean as shown by a tracking device placed on the ship. Earlier it had seemed that the Japanese fleet had closed its whaling season and was heading home but Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson says a tracker on the fuel tanker Sun Laurel shows that it has changed course and appears to be returning south.
Japan’s whaling fleet has seemingly made its way out of the Antarctic Ocean whale sanctuary and looks to be heading home with a record low haul, the activist environmental group Sea Shepherd revealed. Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said on Saturday that this year his group’s “enormously successful” harassment campaign of Japan’s annual whale hunt will result in the whalers’ lowest haul in history, with “no more than 75″ whales harvested.
Karen Scott, a law professor at New Zealand's University of Canterbury, has criticized the U.S. court that labeled the extreme activist group Sea Shepherd as "modern-day pirates," and says the judge went too far. In deciding on a lawsuit from Japan's whaling industry, which is currently struggling to conduct its annual hunt in the Southern Ocean, Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said earlier this week that Sea Shepherd's actions were inexcusable, regardless of what they consider to be honorable intentions.
Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke has rejected Japan's recent top-level defense of whaling. He said that Japan has long abandoned any pretence of scientific reasons for whaling and should not even be bringing in culture and tradition into its reasoning for killing the mammals.