In a long anticipated decision the International Court in the Hague temporarily ordered Japan to stop its whale hunt in the Southern Ocean citing a lack of scientific evidence. Australia has been trying to keep the Japanese whalers out of its whale sanctuary for years. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, based out of Friday Harbor, WA, who has a case pending from Japanese whalers in the US Court of Appeals, applauds the decision. Their activities are featured on the popular program “Whale Wars” on the Discovery channel. Japan has said their JARPA II is important scientific research but critics argue its for their commercial meat industry. Whale meat consumption has declined considerably in Japan.Opening of the public hearings (merits phase) of the ICJ in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan; New Zealand intervening) which took place from 26 June to 16 July 2013, at the Peace Palace in The Hague. The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States (its Judgments are final and binding) and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized UN organs and agencies. Its official languages are English and French. ICJ news and archives can be accessed via www.icj-cij.org
The ruling does not eliminate whale hunting around the world. It is a temporary halt to the Japanese hunt in the Antarctic, which has been permitted to slaughter over 1,000 whales annually, a number they set for themselves.