A whale tied to the side of Japanese Research vessel Yushin Maru No. 2 is dragged through the ocean in Mackenzie Bay, Antarctica, in this picture provided by Sea Shepherd Australia and taken 15 February 2013. Anti-whaling activists unsuccessfully tried to intervene in the transfer of the whale from a Japanese whaling vessel to another for more than nine hours. Photo: Sea Shepherd Australia

THE HAGUE, 12 April 2013 (AFP) – Australia is to fire the opening salvoes in a legal battle before the United Nations' highest court in June aimed at stopping Japan's whaling research programme in Antarctica.

"The International Court of Justice … will hold public hearings in the case concerning whaling in the Antarctic, Australia versus Japan, from Wednesday 26 June," the Hague-based ICJ said in a statement on Thursday.

Australia took Japan to court in May 2010 alleging that "Japan's continued pursuit" of a large-scale whaling programme, which Japan claimed as scientific research, put the Asian nation in breach of international conventions and its obligation to preserve "marine mammals and the marine environment".

Australia asked ICJ judges to order Japan to stop its whale research programme called "JARPA II", the second phase of its hunt on whales in Antarctica under a special permit.

"Australia requests the court to order that Japan cease implementation of JARPA II, revoke any authorisation, permits or licences" allowing whaling under the programme, it said.

It also wants the ICJ to get guarantees from Tokyo that it will not undertake any further research until it conformed "to its obligations under international law".

Australia's lawyers will argue its case on the opening day, followed a week later by Japan, on July 2.

A ruling in the matter however, may not be handed down for several months.

Japan last week announced its whaling mission in the Southern Ocean was a "record low" this year, blaming "unforgivable sabotage" by activists.

The hunt netted 103 Antarctic minke whales, the lowest since "research whaling" began in 1987, and blamed it on the actions of the Sea Shepherd Australia conservation group. [more]

Australia to tackle Japan on whaling at UN world court



Blog Template by Adam Every . Sponsored by Business Web Hosting Reviews