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Friday, July 12, 2013

Australia versus Japan in International Court of Justice

Canadian Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

In 2008, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ignored an order from an Australian Court to end Japanese whale hunts in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary under the "research whaling" loophole.  It took a long time to finally get the case heard at the ICJ at The Hague in The Netherlands, but we finally got there and Australia's case is now over and Japan will have their turn next week.

The Steve Irwin clashes with a Japanese spotter ship

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has angrily denied that the Australian government is in cahoots with controversial activists, the Sea Shepherd group.  

We realize that our government can't condone the group's actions of using every means possible, legal or not, to stop the slaughter, but we can, and do.  The Japanese told the court that we have an "alarmist crusade" against whaling and it's true, we do, and want them to stay the hell out of our ocean.

Newest ship Sam Simon

It's incredible to think the Japanese are still insisting they slaughter hundreds of whales for scientific purposes - it's such a blatant lie, it's a joke. Their lawyers argue that killing whales in the Southern Ocean is part of a legitimate scientific program to find out if whaling is sustainable.  Our Attorney-General pointed out that Japan's scientific justification "is not supported by any proper hypothesis - when you can't explain why you are killing that many whales and when you can't identify for the court what the purpose of that activity is, in a scientific sense, it's not science at all."

Paul Watson is wanted by Interpol after skipping bail last July in Germany where he was arrested on Costa Rica charges relating to a high seas confrontation over cutting the fins off hundreds of sharks in 2002.  

In March, Watson left the fleet of anti-whaling ships on their way back to Australia.  The Washington-based organization, which a US federal court labelled "pirates" said Watson had left the fleet before it reached Australia for fear of arrest.  His whereabouts is currently unknown.

The hearing continues in The Hague, presided over by 16 judges.