Japanese whalers finally face the dock in International Court of Justice

Friday, 12 April, 2013
Sydney, Australia


The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has welcomed the announcement last night by the International Court of Justice of hearing dates for Australia’s case against Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean.

“This case has been a long time in the making and IFAW was instrumental in its history, bringing together a series of panels of world experts in international law to look at the possibility of challenging Japanese whaling in international courts,” said Matthew Collis, IFAW’s marine campaigns manager.

“IFAW looks forward to scientific whaling being exposed in the international courts for the sham that it is,” said Mr Collis.

The first round of hearings in the case [Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)] will begin on 26 June 2013, with 11 days of hearings running over three weeks until the 16 July. The Court will begin with oral arguments from Australia and Japan before hearing New Zealand’s intervention on 8 July. Australia and Japan will then both be given an opportunity to comment on New Zealand’s intervention.

Japan has killed over 14,000 whales under the guise of scientific research since the global moratorium on commercial whaling was introduced in 1986. An IFAW report released last year revealed how the Government of Japan is subsidising whaling to the tune of $10 million annually. Japan’ s whaling fleet has recently returned to port after its lowest ever Antarctic whaling catch, with 103 minke whales killed.

IFAW opposes commercial whaling because it is cruel and, without exception, has depleted every single whale population that it has targeted throughout its history.

In May 2010, Australia launched its case against Japan in the International Court of Justice. Since then there have been written arguments presented by both sides and New Zealand announced its intention to intervene in the case in November 2011 but the oral hearings will be the first time each side will present its case publicly.

“IFAW is hopeful the Court will come to a quick judgement on the case, ahead of next year’s whaling season in the Southern Ocean. We are confident the hearings will demonstrate the mockery of science that is Japan’s ‘research’ whaling and are hopeful for a positive outcome which will see the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary finally become a place of genuine protection or the thousands of whales that feed there every year. For the whales, such a decision can’t come soon enough,” said Mr Collis.


About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Please visit us on Facebook and Twitter



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