148-Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan)

On May 31st, 2010, Australia filed an application instituting proceedings against Japan before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding ”Japan’s continued pursuit of a large‑scale program of whaling under the Second Phase of its Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic (‘JARPA II’)”, which constituted, according the the applicant, a violation of the  International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (‘ICRW’), to which the defendant State is a member state.

On November 20th, 2012, New Zealand filed a declaration of intervention in the case contending that, as a party to the ICRW, it had a direct interest in the construction that might be placed upon the Convention by the Court. In an order dated February 6th, 2013, the ICJ found that the declaration of intervention was admissible.

Order of 06-02-2013.pdf

The ICJ ruled on the merits of the case in its judgment of March 31st, 2014. Having made sure that it had jurisdiction to hear the matter, the Court then affirmed that the legal point was the interpretation of the article VIII of the ICRW, which authorises the member states to ”grant to any of [their] nationals a special permit authorizing that national to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research”. 

After review of the elements presented by the parties, the Court ruled that JARPA II could indeed be qualified as a ”scientific research programme”. However, there was nothing in the documents to show that the design and implementation of this programme was reasonable in light of the stated objectives. The Court concluded that the special permits granted by Japan for the killing, taking and treating of whales in connection with JARPA II were not “for purposes of scientific research”, pursuant to Article VIII, paragraph 1, of the 1946 Convention. Accordingly, the Court ordered Japan revoke any existent authorization, permit or licence to kill, or take or treat whales in relation to it, and to refrain from granting any further permits under Article VIII, paragraph 1, of the Convention, in pursuance of that programme.

Judgment of 31-03-2014.pdf

This summary is provided for informational purposes only, does not involve the responsibility of Dome and should in no way be used as a substitute for a careful reading of the judgment and order of the case.