|image via news.nationalgeographic~dot~com|
A trans-Tasman bid to outlaw scientific whaling by Japan has closed with the Asian power warning a decision against it could force it to quit the International Whaling Commission.
Deputy foreign minister Koji Tsuruoka said Japan relied on the International Court of Justice to find that it had obeyed the law by halting commercial whaling, and only conducting scientific whaling within the rules of the IWC treaty.
"What would happen to stable multilateral frameworks when such assurances disappear?" Tsuruoka said. "When one morning suddenly you find your state bound by the policy of the majority and the only way out is to leave such an organisation?
"Japan, a country that places importance on the rule of law, trusts that the outcome of this case will uphold stable multilateralism."
Tsuruoka's closing words to the ICJ on Tuesday followed a claim from Japanese counsel Payam Akhavan that the politicisation of science, sacrificing of culture and disregarding of international law meant that soon there might be no whaling nations at the IWC.
However Akhavan also underscored Japan's compliance with the rule of law, and observers said Japan's threats to leave the IWC had been made repeatedly in the past.
Tsuruoka was closing four weeks of hearings at the ICJ in The Hague in which Australia asked the court to find that Japan's whaling program was not scientific research, but disguised commercial whaling.
Australia is asking the court to ban the hunt, under which Japan has been whaling in the Antarctic for 26 years, ever since the global moratorium commercial whaling came into force.
"Whaling for purposes of scientific research by Japan is not commercial whaling in disguise," Tsuruoka said. "The objective of the program is to obtain scientific information on the basis of which Japan might be able to ask for the moratorium to be lifted."
New Zealand intervened in the case earlier this month, with Attorney General Chris Finlayson arguing that global whaling treaty's purpose was not the protection of commercial whaling.
Finlayson told the ICJ the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling was intended to be for the conservation and development of whale stocks.
SEA SHEPHERD DENIED FINAL ACCESS TO INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE HEARINGS : THE HAGUE
July 17, 2013
BY GEERT VONS, DIRECTOR SEA SHEPHERD NETHERLANDS AND CAPTAIN ALEX CORNELISSEN, GLOBAL EXECUTIVE OFFICER, SEA SHEPHERD GLOBAL (IN VIDEO).
International Court of Justice – July 15th
Sea Shepherd has been denied access to enter the Peace Palace in order to attend the first session of the second round of oral arguments and observations of Japan.
At first the ICJ representative at the door informed us the hearings were not open to the public. This came as a surprise as in official writing to our attorney we had been offered two seats by the ICJ to attend all Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)sittings.
The lady was very polite though, and obvious very uncomfortable.
When I showed a copy of the written confirmation from the Court to our attorney in which we were invited to attend all hearings, and added that we had been allowed to attend all previous hearings, she sort of confessed she had been given strict orders not to let us in.
She started to really feel uncomfortable, discussed with her colleague. and made a telephone call. After hanging up she informed us it was because of technical problems we were not allowed to attend.
As I could not get any clue of what that was supposed to mean I asked if I could talk to the person she just spoke to.
She did neither want to give a name nor number, and left it up to us as what to do. She was still very polite and I sort of felt sorry for her being the messenger.
As I did have a general telephone number at bottom of my written confirmation, obtained via our attorney, I decided to give it a try.
Another really friendly lady, who also informed us we were not welcome and that she was really sorry. She offered to see what she could do and asked me to call again in ten minutes.
I called again after ten minutes and in the end was informed that ICJ need not to justify as to give a reason why we were not allowed to enter the Peace Palace.
So, we have not been given a concrete reason. Leaves it to speculation.
As mentioned before today was the first session of the second round of oral argument and observations of Japan.
Could it be that under pressure from Japan ICJ did not want SSCS to be present and in order to ban Sea Shepherd therefore had no other choice then to deny entry to all public?
Sea Shepherd has been mentioned several times in the ICJ over the last weeks.
Japanese statistics showed Japan blamed Sea Shepherd for not being able to reach their sampling quota (read; number of whales to be killed).
Good to see Sea Shepherd campaigns have been effective and have saved the lifes of thousands of whales.
Geert Vons, director Sea Shepherd Netherlands