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Legal storm ahead for Japanese whalers

Japanese whalers have some rough seas ahead as Australia launches legal action against them in the International Court of Justice next week._x000D_

user iconKate Gibbs 29 May 2010 The Bar
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JAPANESE whalers have some stormy seas ahead as Australia launches legal action against them in the International Court of Justice next week.

Australia announced the decision to take Japanese “scientific” whaling in the Southern Ocean to The Hague today.

The decision, which Attorney General Robert McClelland and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Peter Garrett MP said they have not taken lightly, demonstrates the Government’s commitment to do what it takes to end whaling globally, it said.


“We have been patient and committed in our efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to this issue. We have engaged in intensive discussions in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and bilaterally with Japan,” McClelland and Garrett said in a joint statement today.

Countries of the European Union, the Buenos Aires group of Latin American countries, and others have joined with Australia in highlighting, in particular, the necessity for phasing out whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.

But the Australian Government said that, to date, “the response of the whaling countries has not been positive”.

Recent statements by whaling countries in the IWC have resisted a compromise agreement.

McClelland and Garrett said: “The Government has always been firm in our resolve that if we could not find a diplomatic resolution to our differences over this issue, we would pursue legal action.”

Australia will now remain engaged in the IWC process and will continue to pursue its objectives in the lead up to and at the IWC meeting in.

McClelland and Garrett said, however, that there is only a “slim” chance the outcomes of the meeting will meet Australia’s fundamental conservation objectives.

“At the same time, the Australian Government will keep working tirelessly to achieve an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean, and we will use all legal and diplomatic avenues to achieve our goal.”

A formal application will be lodged in The Hague early next week.

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