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31 March 2014 - The International Court of Justice delivers Judgment on whaling case      

The International Court of Justice delivers Judgment on whaling case

31 March 2014


This evening in The Hague the United Nations’ International Court of Justice will deliver its Judgment in the case concerning whaling in the Antarctic. Australia brought the case against Japan, and New Zealand intervened in support of Australia’s position.

Humane Society International (HSI), which first put forward the idea for this case more than 10 years ago, has praised the Australian Government for bringing this case before the UN court, and notes that today’s Judgment marks the final legal phase, which we hope will bring closure to many years’ effort to end the suffering of whales. 

“Australia’s unprecedented actions in bringing forward the case on ‘scientific whaling’ to the International Court of Justice has been an important step in ending Japan’s charade, which is simply an excuse to continue killing hundreds of minke and fin whales each year in the Antarctic,” said HSI’s Alexia Wellbelove.  “HSI looks forward to hearing the outcome of this important case.”

Japanese whalers have killed more than 10,000 whales in the Southern Ocean since the moratorium on commercial whaling.  Japan profits from sales of whale meat, with 2,120.9 tons of whale meat distributed for consumption domestically in 2011.

The Judgment will be delivered at 7pm Sydney time today, and HSI will be available for early comment from the conclusion of the reading of the Judgment.


1946 – The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), a treaty to protect whales, comes into force.

1982 – The ICRW adopts a moratorium on commercial whaling, which doesn’t go into effect until 1986.

1982 – Japan formally objects; therefore it is not bound by the moratorium as is permitted under the Convention.

1987 – Japan withdraws objection but continues whaling, claiming it is allowed under Article VIII of the Convention (which allows whaling for scientific purposes).  Japan is the only other country to engage in whaling by exploiting this loophole.

2008 – HSI successfully gains a Federal Court injunction against Japanese whalers in the Australian Whale Sanctuary.

31 May 2010 – Australia initiates legal case in the International Court of Justice against Japan’s ‘scientific whaling’ program in the Antarctic.

November 2012 – New Zealand intervenes in the International Court of Justice case.

26 June – 16 July 2013 – International Court of Justice public hearings.

17 July 2013 – Court deliberations begin.

31 March 2013 – Court delivers its Judgment.


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