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Australian Court Orders Japan To Stop Whaling

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« on: January 15, 2008, 12:30:35 pm »

A handout photo taken from the Greenpeace ship 'Esperanza'
shows the first sighting of the Japanese whaling ship Nisshin
Maru in the Southern Ocean, January 12, 2008.

Australia's Federal Court on Tuesday ordered Japan to stop
hunting and killing whales anywhere around its coastline or
off Australian Antarctic territory.

(AFP/Greenpeace/Jiri Rezac)

                                           Australian court orders Japan to stop whaling

Tue Jan 15, 2008
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's Federal Court on Tuesday ordered Japan to stop hunting and killing whales anywhere around its coastline or off Australian Antarctic territory.
The ruling, in a case brought by the Humane Society International, comes with a Japanese fleet sailing in Antarctic waters where they plan to kill around 1,000 whales this season.

Judge James Allsop found that the Japanese company Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd had killed Antarctic minke and fin whales in Australia's self-declared whale sanctuary, in contravention of Australian law.

The company effectively represents the Japanese whaling industry and runs the ships currently involved in the hunt.

"The court orders that the respondent be restrained from killing, injuring, taking or interfering with any Antarctic minke whale, fin whale or humpback whale in the Australian Whale Sanctuary," Allsop said.

The Australian Whale Sanctuary generally extends 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) from the coast, but further in some areas to cover offshore waters and islands, according to the Australian government.

However, the court noted that unless the Japanese whalers entered Australian jurisdiction where they could be seized, there was no practical way the order could be enforced.

Japan exploits a loophole in a 1986 international moratorium on commercial whaling to kill whales for what it calls scientific research, while admitting the meat from the hunt ends up on dinner plates.

Australia has led international opposition to the annual hunt in Antarctic waters, but an expert in international law told AFP the effect of the court's ruling would be mainly symbolic.

"The Australian Whale Sanctuary is a creature of Australian law," said Don Rothwell, professor of international law at the Australian National University. "It's not a zone which is recognised by the international law."

If the Australian government tried to enforce the court's order, it would probably spark a major diplomatic row, Rothwell said.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett said he would study the court's decision closely before commenting further.

"The (government) wasn't a party to this case but our intention to continue to have an overall, holistic and fair-dinkum approach to opposing Japanese so-called scientific whaling is absolutely clear," he told reporters.

Humane Society spokeswoman Nicola Beynon welcomed the court ruling and urged the government to take immediate action against the Japanese whaling fleet.

Although Japan did not recognise Australia's jurisdiction over the whale sanctuary, "I think it's the Australian government's responsibility to uphold the law and to uphold the Federal Court's injunction," she told reporters.

A customs vessel dispatched last week by the government to monitor the whalers, the Oceanic Viking, should intercept the fleet and enforce the court order to end the hunt, she told reporters.

"Yes, it would be controversial with the Japanese government but hey, they're the ones who are being extremely provocative in killing whales in Australia's territorial waters and we think it's time that this whole matter is brought to a head."

The government has said the Oceanic Viking's mission is to gather video and other evidence of Japanese whaling for use in possible legal action against Tokyo.

Rothwell said this was probably a better option and could be done through the International Court of Justice in The Hague or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg.

Meanwhile, environmental groups Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd said this week their ships had located the Japanese whalers in Antarctic waters and had "chased" them from the hunting zone
« Last Edit: January 15, 2008, 12:34:50 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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