Whale Wars Day of Judgment: ICJ Rules Against Japan

by Julian Ku

Here is the ICJ’s decision in “Whaling in the Antarctic” (Australia v. Japan, New Zealand intervening).  Here is the Registry’s summary. The vote was unanimous on jurisdiction, and then 12-4 on the rest in Australia’s favor with judges Owada, Abraham, Bennouna, Yusuf dissenting.  There was one aspect of the decision that went in favor of Japan (13-3) but that aspect of the decision shouldn’t affect the overall outcome significantly.

I won’t pretend to have digested this judgment in any rigorous way. I will note that the judgment calls on Japan to “revoke any extant authorization, permit or licence granted in relation to JARPA II, and refrain from granting any further permits in pursuance of that programme.”  Japan’s implementation (or non-implementation) of this remedy will be worth watching going forward.


4 Responses

  1. One wonders whether this would have gotten so far without the efforts of the Sea Shepherd “pirates” some of whom I believe are Australian.

  2. One wonders if the Court would have been so sympathetic with Australia’s interpretation on the purpose of the IWC if it was told that the West out-whaled Japan for decades before it was deemed Japanese whaling that was exacerbating the endangerment.

  3. I have prepared an analysis of the Australia v. Japan case. Interested readers can find it in SSRN:

  4. Response…Does anyone have thoughts on how para. 40 on jurisdiction (delimitation “immaterial” to applicant’s ICRW  claims)  might factor in the Philippines-PRC arbitration?

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