The International Court of Justice has ruled against Japan in the case brought by Australia to stop the East Asian country’s whaling activities. The ICJ ordered a temporary halt to Japan’s program as they believe it is not for scientific research but rather for commercial purposes.
The ICJ voted 12-4 majority among the judges and in a long decision read by the court, presiding judge Peter Tomka said that Japan was not able to present enough evidence to prove that they were indeed hunting the whales during winter for scientific research. The court said they are revoking the special permit issued to Japan for their program called JARPA II, and ordered them to stop the whaling activities “with immediate effect.” The permit was issued by the International Whaling Commission under article 8 of the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, despite the ban on commercial whaling because of Japan’s supposed research, which Australia says is just a cloak for what was in fact a commercial operation.
Japan, through Noriyuki Shikata, its spokesman for the delegation to the ICJ, said they were “disappointed” by the ruling, but because they believe that international legal order is crucial, they will abide by it. He also stressed that this will not affect his country’s bilateral relationship with Australia, who brought the case against Japan four years ago in the international court. Shikata said they will ensure that their differences of opinion over whaling will not stop their economic and strategic partnership.
Anti-whaling campaigners were satisfied with the ICJ’s verdict. Clare Perry of the Environmental Investigation Agency hopes that this “historic” ruling will finally put a stop to “the grim travesty of Japan’s so-called ‘scientific’ whaling and exposes it to the world as the blatant falsehood it clearly is.” Willie MacKenzie, an oceans campaigner for GreenpeaceUK, said that he hopes Japan will not look for any more loopholes in order to continue their other whaling practices.
[ via The Guardian ]
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