International court says Japan’s whaling is illegal

Japan's whaling program in the Antarctic sanctuary is now officially illegalIn a stunning decision and a victory for whales and whale enthusiasts, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague announced their binding decision today in the landmark case of Australia v. Japan, ruling that Japan’s JARPA II whaling program in the Antarctic is not for scientific purposes and ordering that all permits given under JARPA II be revoked.  Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA and Sea Shepherd Australia, both of which have directly intervened against Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean, applauded the decision.

In a 12 to four vote, the ICJ ruled that the scientific permits granted by Japan for its whaling program were not scientific research as defined under International Whaling Commission regulations. It ordered that Japan revoke the scientific permits given under JARPA II and refrain from granting any further permits under that program.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society picThe Sea Shepherd Society has said all along that—no matter the species—no whales should be killed, especially in a sanctuary. Sanctuary means “a place of refuge or safety; a nature reserve” where animals are protected. To allow killing in an internationally designated sanctuary is to make a mockery of international agreements made by those countries who established the sanctuary in 1994. At that time, 23 countries supported the agreement and Japan was the only International Whaling Commission (IWC) member to oppose it.

The Ambassador from Japan to the U.S., Kenichiro Sasae, has said that Japan will abide by the ICJ ruling.

This is a resounding victory for whales around the planet. There are still countries that have an “out” to continue whale hunting – Iceland for one. But it’s hoped that with this ruling, those few countries that decry impingement on their whaling traditions realize that the tine has come to bow to changing world values and cease their brutal and unnecessary killing. This ruling speaks volumes to that.

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