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Français

Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)

Overview of the case

Proceedings were instituted on 31 May 2010 by Australia, which accused Japan of pursuing “a large-scale program of whaling under the Second Phase of its Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic (‘JARPA II’)”, in breach of obligations assumed by Japan under the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling and of other international obligations for the preservation of marine mammals and the marine environment.

In the Judgment it rendered on 31 March 2014, the Court first found that it had jurisdiction to entertain the case, rejecting Japan’s argument that the dispute fell within the scope of a reservation contained in Australia’s declaration recognizing the Court’s jurisdiction as compulsory. It then turned to the question of the interpretation and application of Article VIII of the 1946 Convention, paragraph 1 of which states that the parties “may grant to any of [their] nationals a special permit authorizing that national to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research”.

With respect to the interpretation of that provision, the Court first observed that, although Article VIII gives discretion to a State party to the Convention to reject the request for a special permit, whether the killing, taking and treating of whales pursuant to a requested special permit is for purposes of scientific research cannot depend simply on that State’s perception. In the view of the Court, the two elements of the phrase for purposes of (1) scientific research (2) are cumulative.

As regards the application of that same provision, the Court indicated that JARPA II could broadly be described as a “scientific research” programme. It then turned to the question of whether it was for purposes of scientific research that lethal methods were used. To answer that question, it examined whether the programme’s design and implementation were reasonable in relation to achieving its stated research objectives. The Court considered that the evidence before it did not establish that such was the case. It concluded that the special permits issued by Japan for the killing, taking and treating of whales in connection with JARPA II were not granted “for purposes of scientific research” pursuant to Article VIII, paragraph 1, of the 1946 Convention.

The Court then turned to the implications of that conclusion, in light of Australia’s contention that Japan had breached several provisions of the Schedule annexed to the said Convention. Having found that Japan had indeed breached some of the provisions invoked (namely the moratoriums on commercial whaling and factory ships, and the prohibition on commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary), it considered the question of remedies. Since JARPA II was an ongoing programme, it ordered Japan to revoke any extant authorization, permit or licence to kill, take or treat whales in relation to JARPA II, and to refrain from granting any further permits under Article VIII, paragraph 1, of the Convention, in pursuance of that programme.


This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.

Institution of proceedings

Written proceedings

Declaration of Intervention by New Zealand

20 November 2012
Procedure(s): Intervention
Available in:
English French

Written Observations of New Zealand

4 April 2013
Procedure(s): Intervention
Available in:
English French

Oral proceedings

Verbatim record 2013/7

Public sitting held on Wednesday 26 June 2013, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/8

Public sitting held on Wednesday 26 June 2013, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/9

Public sitting held on Thursday 27 June 2013, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/10

Public sitting held on Thursday 27 June 2013, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/11

Public sitting held on Friday 28 June 2013, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/12

Public sitting held on Tuesday 2 July 2013, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/13

Public sitting held on Wednesday 3 July 2013, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/14

Public sitting held on Wednesday 3 July 2013, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/15

Public sitting held on Thursday 4 July 2013, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/16

Public sitting held on Thursday 4 July 2013, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/17

Public sitting held on Monday 8 July 2013, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/18

Public sitting held on Tuesday 9 July 2013, at 4.30 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/19

Public sitting held on Wednesday 10 July 2013, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/20

Public sitting held on Wednesday 10 July 2013, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/21

Public sitting held on Monday 15 July 2013, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/22

Public sitting held on Monday 15 July 2013, at 3 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Verbatim record 2013/23

Public sitting held on Tuesday 16 July 2013, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Tomka presiding, in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
Available in:
Original Language
Translation
(bilingual version) Translation

Other documents

Orders

Order of 13 July 2010

Fixing of time-limits for the filing of the initial pleadings
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Judgments

Summaries of Judgments and Orders

Summary 2014/3

Summary of the Judgment of 31 March 2014
Available in:
English French

Press releases

Press release 2010/16

1 June 2010
Australia institutes proceedings against Japan for alleged breach of international obligations concerning whaling
Available in:
English French

Press release 2010/23

20 July 2010
Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan) - Fixing of time-limits for the filing of the initial pleadings
Available in:
English French

Press release 2012/18

18 May 2012
Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan) - Closure of written proceedings
Available in:
English French

Press release 2012/34

22 November 2012
Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan) - New Zealand files a declaration of intervention in the proceedings under Article 63 of the Statute
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/2

13 February 2013
Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan) - The Court authorizes New Zealand to intervene in the proceedings
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/7

11 April 2013
Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan : New Zealand intervening ) - The Court to hold public hearings from Wednesday 26 June to Tuesday 16 July 2013
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/14

12 June 2013
Public hearings in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening) - Public admission and media accreditation - Live and on-demand webcasts
Available in:
English French

Press release 2013/16

17 July 2013
Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening) - Conclusion of the public hearings - Court to begin its deliberation
Available in:
English French

Press release 2014/13

4 March 2014
Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening) - The Court to deliver its Judgment on Monday 31 March 2014 at 10 a.m.
Available in:
English French

Press release 2014/14

31 March 2014
Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening) - The Court finds that Japan's whaling programme in the Antarctic (JARPA II) is not in accordance with three provisions of the Schedule to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling
Available in:
English French