Japanese whaling on trial before UN courtJune 26th, 2013 by cdunagan
UPDATE, July 4, 2013
Japanese officials say objections to its scientific whaling program are based on moral arguments, not legal ones. Australia cannot win this case, Japanese officials say, because the international treaty allows for scientific whaling and it allows member countries to determine for themselves what qualifies as science.
This legal position is explained in a story written by Andrew Darby published in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald.
A later story by Darby, published in
today’s Herald, reports on the surprising testimony by a
witness called by the Japanese government. The witness, a Norwegian
expert named Lars Walloe, described several problems he had with
the Japanese research, but he confirmed that it was research.
Whether Japan’s annual whale hunt is a true scientific endeavor or a commercial operation without legal justification is the question being debated before the United Nations highest court this week.
Australia, supported by New Zealand, brought the case against Japan to the International Court of Justice, which is holding hearings in The Hague, Neatherlands.
Australia hopes to bring Japan’s whaling activities under normal prescriptions from the International Whaling Commission, as opposed to the ongoing scientific permits issued by the Japanese government that allow for hundreds of whales to be killed each year.
Bill Campbell, Australia’s agent to the court, addressed the 16-judge panel in the Great Hall of Justice, according to a report by Mike Corder of The Associated Press.
“Japan seeks to cloak its ongoing commercial whaling in the lab coat of science,” he said, later telling reporters, “You don’t kill 935 whales in a year to conduct scientific research. You don’t even need to kill one whale to conduct scientific research.”
Japan, which will present its side next week, has stated that it will challenge the court’s authority to hear the case while justifying its whaling operations under international whaling agreements.
To read more about the court proceedings: