The International Court of Justice (ICJ) this week declared that Japan’s Southern Ocean whale hunt was illegal under international law. After a three week hearing, the court said that Japan’s so-called ‘scientific’ whaling program in the Antarctic failed to meet the conditions for scientific whaling under regulations set by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and ordered a temporary halt.

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The ruling means that no further permits for scientific whaling can be issued under Japan’s scientific whaling program. Speaking from The Hague, rhe International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which campaigns for an end to all commercial or so-called ‘scientific’ whaling, said that the judgment was a major victory for whale conservation and international law.

This means that any whales in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary will be fully protected from commercial slaughter conducted under the guise of science. “We welcome the court’s findings,” said Patrick Ramage, IFAW’s Global Whale Programme Director. “IFAW had long pushed for whales to have their day in court, and we are very pleased that justice has been served.

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“The government of Japan has a strong record of genuinely respecting international institutions and we fully expect Japan will abide by the Court’s ruling,” Ramage said. “We respectfully urge Japan, Iceland and Norway, the last three countries still killing whales for commercial purposes, to accept that whaling has no place in the 21st Century and to act in compliance with the judicial precedent set by the court today. The market for whale meat in all three countries is in freefall; it is time they joined the rest of the family of nations in abandoning this outdated and uneconomic industry.”

Independent panels of international legal experts reviewing Japan’s scientific whaling program have consistently found it ‘unlawful’ under international law. Since the global moratorium on commercial whaling was introduced, Japan has killed more than 14,000 whales in the name of science, the vast majority of these in the Southern Ocean.

+ The International Court of Justice

via The Guardian

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