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31 March 2014 - Court delivers fatal blow to Southern Ocean whaling      

Court delivers fatal blow to Southern Ocean whaling

31 March 2014


The International Court of Justice has this evening delivered a blow to the Japanese whaling program in Antarctica, finding that Japan’s whaling in Antarctica is in breach of the whaling moratorium and calling on Japan to cease whaling immediately.

Tonight the International Court of Justice has ruled that Japan’s whaling is illegal and ordered Japan to revoke all permits,” said HSI’s Alexia Wellbelove. “The judges have now spoken and clearly ruled in support of Australia’s position, exposing Japan’s whaling in Antarctica to be what we have been saying for some time – that it is commercial whaling in disguise. We now expect Japan to abide by the decision of the international court and end its whaling in the Southern Ocean for good.”

After first putting forward the idea for the Antarctic whaling case more than 10 years ago, Humane Society International (HSI) has today welcomed the judgment by the International Court of Justice on whaling in Antarctica, delivered late tonight, which found that Japan’s so-called ‘scientific whaling’ is plainly commercial whaling in disguise.

We sincerely hope that this verdict will lead to a renewed focus by all nations on whale conservation, not killing. We hope that Japan will use the court’s judgment as a basis to refocus and concentrate on non-lethal research techniques, joining many other nations including Australia who are actively working together for the conservation of the world’s whales,” concluded Ms Wellbelove.

HSI thanks the Australian Government for taking the case to the international court and congratulates them on an excellent outcome.

HSI will be considering the full details of the Judgment of the court over the next few days. The full Judgment of the court is available at http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/148/18136.pdf.

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.


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 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 2014 – Court delivers its Judgment.


Web: AndreasLustig.com