Japanese whaling on trial before UN court

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.
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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:

Mike Corder, Associated Press

Julian Drape, Australian Associated Press

Mary Gearin, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

2 thoughts on “Japanese whaling on trial before UN court

  1. 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.

  2. I do not see the ‘danming’ testimony as Mr. Darby tries to sway his readers in his articles. Japan’s witness had problems going through the data, not that their program should be halted. This one shows even more weaknesses in Australia’s case, they are going after the ‘feel good’ side of it http://www.smh.com.au/environment/whale-watch/sharp-rebuke-for-japan-as-dreyfus-appears-in-whaling-case-20130710-2pp7p.html
    Trying to stay neutral on it and reading his articles, their doesn’t look to be hard evidence against Japan’s program. And to say that one of the founding memebers only wanted, but never put to law, a limit of 10, is only hearsay

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