Saturday, May 29, 2010

Coming soon to the ICJ: Australia v. Japan over whaling

In a joint release, Australia's foreign and environmental ministers announced yesterday that early next week, "Australia will initiate legal action in the International Court of Justice in The Hague against Japanese 'scientific' whaling in the Southern Ocean."
The twin goals, they said, are:
► in the shorter term, "to bring to an end Japan's program of so-called 'scientific' whaling" (prior IntLawGrrls posts here and here), and
► in the longer term, "to do what it takes to end whaling globally."
The decision comes after the failure to date of diplomatic efforts, not only with Japan on a bilateral plane, but also, on a multistate level, with member states of the International Whaling Commission (logo above left). Yesterday's release was notably pointed in its criticism of some in the latter group:
Recent statements by whaling countries in the Commission have provided Australia
with little cause for hope that our serious commitment to conservation of the world's whales will be reflected in any potential IWC compromise agreement.
How will the decision affect bilateral relations? The Australians said:

Both Australia and Japan have agreed that, whatever our differences on whaling, this issue should not be allowed to jeopardise the strength and the growth of our bilateral relationship.
While a Japanese minister said upon hearing yesterday's announcement:

I do not wish to harm Japan-Australia relations over all, but I hope to assert that what’s wrong is wrong.

He did not mean to refer to his own country's practices.

1 comment:

David said...

Some people may not like whaling and associated activities much, but that and the international legality of the activities are entirely different issues.

I've looked through Australia's initial Application, and believe that the politicians of the Australian government have only gone through with this to further their domestic electoral chances, based on the nature and quality of the application. I can't see that Australia stands any chance of succeeding at the ICJ.