The biggest news in the whale world is that lawsuit which the Australian government ( on the orders of Prime Minister Rudd) filed under the provisions of the International Court of Justice will commence proceedings in early July.

On 31 May 2010, Australia instituted proceedings against Japan, alleging that “Japans continued pursuit of a large scale program of whaling under the Second Phase of its Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPA II) is in breach of obligations assumed by Japan under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling („ICRW), as well as its other international obligations for the preservation of marine mammals and the marine environment.

Australia requests the Court to order that Japan:

(a) cease implementation of JARPA ( the whaling program in the Antarctic)

(b) revoke any authorisations, permits or licences allowing the activities which are the subject of this
application to be undertaken; and

(c) provide assurances and guarantees that it will not take any further action under the JARPA II or any similar program until such program has been brought into conformity with its obligations under international law.

It will be interesting to see the outcome as Japanese culture does not enjoy being told what to do by outside sources. And if the Court makes orders which uphold Japan’s right to kill whales in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary, then the world can anticipate a massive increase in commercial whaling.

Australians for Animals Int. as an International Whaling Commision NGO consulted many expert lawyers over the past few years attempting to find international legal action that might force Japan to stop whaling.

The ongoing nightmare of Japanese and soon to come Icelandic whaling, is a direct result of the WTO ( World Trade Organisation) which prohibits trade sanctions. When the USA, under Pres. George Bush, made a decision not to impose trade sanctions against Japan and other delinquent whaling nations, the only tool which could stop commercial whaling was effectively dead in the water.

Japan is in violation of the WTO as the whaling industry is illegally subsidised under the WTO. A legal challenge could be made in a WTO Tribunal which could force Japan to stop whaling. However, only governments can make the legal challenges and all anti whaling nations are members of the WTO and reluctant to mount any lawsuit.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of the International Court of Justice case. But the bottom line is that Australia should have mounted an injunction against Japan when the lawsuit was filed in 2010. That way, many whales would have been spared a horrific and painful death.

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