Australia has warned Japan's "scientific" whaling is a dangerous precedent with potentially catastrophic effects, as the case to end the hunt opened at the International Court of Justice.Oh, do tell.
Australian Government counsel Bill Campbell, QC, told the court that according to Japan's interpretation of the global whaling treaty, any member country would be free to decide its own scientific kill.That is precisely what the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling says in the first part of Article VIII.
Australia is asking the ICJ to consider a both hypothetical and very implausible scenario that is entirely distinct from reality.
"I ask the court to consider the consequences if the other 88 member states of the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling had the capacity and conducted whaling on the same basis as Japan," Mr Campbell said.
Japan asserted its right to take up to 935 minke whales in the Antarctic, he said. "If each were to act the same way, a total of 83,215 minke whales a year would be killed.
"If one took Japan's view of the convention this would be entirely permissible. Of course, the consequences of taking 83,215 minke whales a year would be catastrophic for the minke whale population but in Japan's view would be legal."
Mr Campbell said the court meeting in The Hague had an important opportunity to decide for the world what did, and did not constitute scientific activity, and Australia did not believe Japan's whaling was scientific.Although Campbell talked about dangerous precedents, just imagine if the ICJ were to rule in Australia's favour. Not only would the text of an international agreement have been summarily ignored, but it would likely possibly have repercussions for other areas where similar scientific methods are deployed, such as fisheries stock assessment.
"In short, Japan seeks to cloak its ongoing commercial whaling in the lab coat of science," he said.Not particularly persuasive argumentation is it - just forceful statement of Australia's long held stance.
"It simply is not science."
An American mathematician has been named as a surprise witness for Australia in the case.This was the most interesting thing in the story. Although Australia proclaims that what Japan is doing is not science, they have produced a fisheries stock assessment expert to make an argument. Fisheries stock assessment science is precisely the field of science that Japan's research programmes aim to contribute to (and indeed the IWC's own scientific committee has utilised Japan's data for such purposes). One of course assumes that the expert will attack aspects of what Japan does. However in doing so they will be drawing much attention to the fact that Japan's research does bear a great deal of resemblance to stock assessment research - which is no coincidence because that is what Japan has said it is, all along. But any deficiencies in the Japanese research that the expert may point to could not, to my mind, result in the programme being judged to be fundamentally commercial in nature, rather than research compliant with the requirements of the ICRW. With an entire research institute in Japan dedicated to the research since it began, and even the IWC's Scientific Committee making use of Japan's data, it is impossible to imagine any sane judgement by which the ICJ could overlook such facts and focus only on the "commercial" elements of the JARPA II programme - which themselves are required by the ICRW itself.
The choice of University of Southern California fisheries stock assessment expert Marc Mangel indicates Australia will be attacking the fundamental scientific basis of the Japanese program.
Professor Mangel's detailed scientific report is to go before the ICJ, along with evidence from Australia's Nick Gales, one of the world's leading proponents of non-lethal whale research.Dr. Gales is unlikely to be able to produce a set of like-for-like data equivalent to what Japan has gathered with non-lethal whale research methods. If, for example, Dr. Gales were able to produce multi-year set of whale sample' age data (such as that which the IWC's Scientific Committee has used, offering thanks to Japan for provision of the data in the process) he might have a case, but in reality he has no such data sets to show.
On the Japanese side, only one witness has been notified to the court - a Norwegian expert on whaling, Lars Walloe.
Professor Walloe designed the legal Norwegian commercial whaling program, which is carried out under formal objection to the International Whaling Commission's moratorium on commercial whaling.
Judge Owada adds that the Order does not sufficiently examine, in the concrete context of the situation of this case, the serious issues raised by Japan regarding the intervention by New Zealand. Judge Owada notes that, although Japan does not raise a formal objection to the intervention, it seems evident that it is deeply concerned that New Zealand’s intervention could have consequences that would affect the equality of the Parties to the dispute and thus the fair administration of justice.
Judge Owada further writes that it is regrettable that a State Party to a case before the Court and a State seeking to intervene in that case pursuant to Article 63 of the Statute should engage in what could be perceived as active collaboration in litigation strategy to use the Court’s Statute and the Rules of Court for the purpose of promoting their common interest, as is candidly admitted in their Joint Media Release of 15 December 2010.
Obviously I can't agree with this judge's higher emphasis on conservation. Naturally there can be no sustainable whaling without conservation, however conservation without regard for the goal of development of the whaling industry is a denial of the true purpose of the convention.15. He then recalls that the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), provides for the proper conservation of the whale stocks and the orderly development of the whaling industry; it is, in his view, clear that the former stands higher, as without the proper conservation of whale stocks there can be no orderly development of the whaling industry. The basic foundation of the ICRW is thus the conservation of all whale species at issue.
Labels: ICJ Australia v. Japan
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A Japanese court will today deliver its verdict in the trial of two Greenpeace activists charged with stealing whale meat."Dubbed the Tokyo Two"? It was Greenpeace Internationals' own propaganda machine that came up with this moniker in the first place. The moniker is not even accurate - one of the criminals' does not have a Tokyo address, and they committed the crimes in Aomori prefecture, hundreds of kilometres north of Tokyo.
Dubbed the Tokyo Two, the Japanese Greenpeace activists admit to ...
It appears that the the Tokyo Prosecutors' Office will drop the investigation into whaling crew members. It is believed that the prosecutors have judged that the charge of embezzlement is not satisfied, as the shipping company that employs the crew members had purchased the whale meat and distributed it to the crew in recognition of their services.So not only was the whale meat package not evidence of theft, there was no theft at all by the whaling crew members. The whale meat was revealed to be essentially part of their remuneration package.
"It’s a long way from where it was when this case started – our investigation to end Japan’s whaling."As is evident through these comments (note they are prepared for and English audience, rather than a Japanese one), the goal of Greenpeace was always to attack the whaling programme. This is a core component of Greenpeace's commercial branding. First and foremost, Greenpeace's goal is to attack and see whaling activities end, and through generation of related propaganda materials, secure donations from anti-whaling constituencies. Everything else is any old excuse they happen to think of. Their logic in itself is juvenile. Were the program having problems of the nature that Greenpeace had alleged, those problems would have been tidied up, and the research whaling programme would still continue.
"... we were closing in on evidence that could finally end this whaling programme."
" ... it was clear that the only place Japanese whaling would ever be ended was at home in Japan. When we intercepted a box of embezzled whale meat, we knew we finally had the evidence to prove the corrupt nature of the industry and shut it down by bringing an end to its huge taxpayer subsidies. "
The defence lawyers have argued that Greenpeace's taking of the meat was not for the purpose of taking ownership, but to accuse whaling crew members of embezzlement, therefore (they argue) the conditions of theft are not satisfied.Of course, one has to point out that Greenpeace did not need to trespass and steal the meat in order to simply make their accusations of theft. Furthermore it's interesting to recall that the whale meat images featured extremely prominently in Greenpeace's propaganda materials. There was also an unnaturally long amount of time between the theft of the meat and Greenpeace's submission of it as "evidence" to the Prosecutor's office (and only after request to do so). Their claims would be more convincing had they submitted the evidence prior to using it for their propaganda purposes, rather than after it and the request from the real officials. At it's core, Greenpeace generates its income and pays its salaries through production of propaganda and consequent acquisition of donations, so to my mind the two activists certainly had intent to obtain the whale meat illegally (even if they are too blinded by their own whaling beliefs to recognise this themselves).
Three points of contention have been gone over at the trial. 1) Whether there was intent to illegally take possession of the whale meat by the activists, 2) whether it can be regarded as justifiable behaviour and 3) whether it can come under protection from the right of freedom of expression as guaranteed in the Japanese constitution and international human rights treaties.I am confident that they will be convicted. If their logic were to apply, it would then also be justified for crazed anti-whaling activists / "investigators" to break and enter my premises to take off with the whale meat cans sitting on my desk as "evidence" (or whatever they dream up), or for me to break and enter Greenpeace Japan premises in search of evidence of illegal doings, etc.
The prosecution has argued that the treaties "do not permit one to infringe upon the property and custodial rights of others", and is calling for 18 months prison sentences.
The defence has said that even if the decision finds there was intent to illegally take possession of the whale meat, "the public good of having disclosed the organized whale meat embezzlement is greater than the detriment caused by the taking of the whale meat, and thus illegality should be excused."
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