Australia calls for immediate halt to Japanese whaling

THE AMAZON PINK DOLPHIN’S VOICE-12/07/2013

Australia calls for immediate halt to Japanese whaling

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus is arguing Australia's case at The Hague to end Japan's whaling program.Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus is arguing Australia’s case at The Hague to end Japan’s whaling program. Photo: Andrew Meares

Australia has called on the International Court of Justice to act quickly to halt what it calls the random hunting and gathering of Japan’s ”scientific” whaling.

In final arguments on Wednesday, Australian counsel attacked what it said were fatal legal flaws in the program, but finished by holding out an olive branch.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus contrasted his own sharp dismissal of the Japanese case on Tuesday by inviting Japan to join in a new era of collaborative, non-lethal whale research.

But before he did, leading Australian counsel moved to cut down the current program, known as JARPA II, before the ICJ in The Hague.

”What do we want?”  Professor James Crawford said.

”Accountability under this major multilateral convention. When do we want it?  Now.”

Professor Crawford, of Oxford University said the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) was not a bilateral treaty between Japan and the rest of the world, and gave it no special rights to take whales regardless of the views of other member countries.

He said that after 25 years of the JARPA program, the world still did not know whether minke numbers were stable, increasing, or decreasing – although 10,410 minkes had been killed for the sake of it.

”This is not science, it is random hunting and gathering . . . attuned to the wavering Japanese market for whale meat,” Professor Crawford said.

The Federal Solicitor-General, Justin Gleeson, SC, pointed to what he said was a gaping hole at the heart of the program.

”The lack of a scientific justification for the number of species of whales to be taken,” Mr Gleeson said.

Mr Gleeson said Japan’s own expert witness, Lars Walloe, admitted difficulty with JARPA II, saying he did not know how the number of whales to be killed could be justified.

Japan had not established that the program was necessary, or why after 25 years, the killing needed to go on.

”They certainly have not presented any evidence why, or how, enough is enough,” he said.

Philippe Sands, of University College, London, said Japan had nailed its flag to a shaky and dangerous mast.

”Much of Japan’s argument is mere assertion unsupported by evidence,” Professor Sands said. Instead it had offered ”silence, contradiction and disparagement”.

Mr Dreyfus said the case’s outcome could have a broad effect on what did, or did not constitute scientific research.

”Australia respectfully requests the court to make orders to bring JARPA II to an end, because the large scale killing of whales is commercial, and wholly outside what is permitted in article  eight of the convention,” Mr Dreyfus said.

Australia’s agent in the case, Bill Campbell, QC,  concluded by formally requesting orders from the court halting the Japanese hunt.

Japan will have the last word, with two days of closing oral argument next week.

The court is expected to adjourn on Tuesday, and spend months considering the evidence before it returns a decision. Mr Dreyfus has said he hopes a ruling will be later this year.

Australia expects Japan to stop whaling in the Southern Ocean if the International Court of Justice (ICJ) finds against it, the Attorney-General said on Wednesday night.

Should the court rule for Japan, Australia would accept the decision but continue to work for an end to whaling through the International Whaling Commission, he said.

”We expect that Japan will comply with any ruling of the ICJ just as Australia would comply with any ruling of the ICJ,” he told ABC TV’s 7.30.

”There are enforcement arrangements. I don’t think it would come to that.”

Mr Dreyfus said Australia would accept a decision for Japan.

”If the ICJ rules against us, that the whaling convention does permit Japan to do what it has been doing for many years, we will keep arguing in the whaling commission with other nations,” he said.

”More than 30 other nations directly support the point we are making here in the ICJ.”

Mr Dreyfus said Japan’s whaling program in the Southern Ocean had killed more than 10,000 whales since the 1988 moratorium.He said Japan simply continued whaling following the moratorium, using the same whaling company and doing pretty much as they had before.

”They were doing commercial whaling up to the introduction of the moratorium in the Southern Ocean. After the moratorium, they simply re-badged it as a scientific program,” he said.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Final legal attack launched on Japanese whaling

The federal solicitor-general, Justin Gleeson, SC, has launched Australia’s final legal attack on Japanese Antarctic whaling by pointing to a gaping hole at the heart of the “scientific” program.

In the last day of submissions by Australia at the International Court Of Justice, Mr Gleeson said
Japan’s own expert witness, Lars Walloe, admitted difficulty with the program, known as JARPA II.

The Norwegian Professor Walloe said he did not know how the number of whales to be killed could be justified.

Mr Gleeson said it appeared Professor Walloe had common ground with Australia on the “sample sizes” chosen – up to 935 minke whales, 50 fin whales and 50 humpbacks.

“He acknowledged a rather gaping hole at the heart of JARPA II, ” Mr Gleeson said. “The lack of a scientific justification for the number of species of whales to be taken.”

Mr Gleeson said Japan had not established that the program was necessary at all, or why after 26 years, the killing needed to go on.

“They certainly have not presented any evidence why, or how, enough is enough,” he said.

Neither had Japan established why lethal scientific research was necessary.

By contrast, Mr Gleeon said hardly a line of Australia’s scientific evidence presented by its two experts had been challenged by Japan.

Australia wants the ICJ to halt Japan’s program as disguised commercial whaling, and counsel Philippe Sands, moved into a detailed assault on the science.

Professor Sands, of University College, London, said Japan had nailed its flag to a rather shaky and dangerous mast.

“Much of Japan’s argument is mere assertion unsupported by evidence,” Professor Sands said. In approaching he case, it had offered silence, contradiction and disparagement.

“There are so many matters on which it has offered no evidence,” he said.  Instead he said an absence of a testable scientific hypothesis or question was fatal to Japan’s case.

Australia’s addresses were continuing, before Japan has the last word with two days of oral argument before the court next week.

The court is expected to adjourn next Tuesday, and spend some months considering the evidence before it returns a decision. The federal government has said it hopes this will come later this year.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Editorial: SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras

Selvavidasinfronteras.wordpress.com

Editorial Committee

David Dunham

Arno Ambrosius

Gustavo López Ospina

Mariana Almeida

Frank Brouwer

Pieter Jan Brouwer

Assistant: Emilia Romero

The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice is associated with the International Environmental Mission, a grass roots citizens movement created by Chilean Senator Juan Pablo Letelier.

SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer. 

~ by FSVSF Admin on 12 July, 2013.

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