Litigation Against Japan Over Whaling

3 June 2010

Academics from Sydney Law School are respective members of two panels of international law experts who have been calling for strong action against Japanese whaling.

The first - the Sydney Panel of Independent International Law Experts - is chaired former Faculty member, Professor Don Rothwell of the Australian National University, Dr Tim Stephens, Emeritus Professor Ivan Shearer, AM RFD and Barrister, Chris Ward, who is an adjunct Faculty member.

It has argued Japan's whaling was contrary to a number of international conventions and the governments of Australia and NZ should pursue legal remedies.

The second group of experts known as the Canberra panel has focused on potential breaches of the Antarctic Treaty System.

It consists of the Dean, Professor Gillian Triggs plus Professor Rothwell and Dr Stephens.

In a recent article in The Australian, Dr Tim Stephens said if the Rudd government's decision to take legal action through the International Court of Justice against Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean fails, the International Whaling Commission could be in serious trouble.

"They will be arguing a case based on the International Whaling Convention provisions dealing with special permit whaling . . . claiming Japan is abusing its rights under the convention," he said.

"This argument will be sovereign-neutral, without any effect on Australia's claims in the Antarctic.

"It will (look) at the rights of parties to conduct whaling, not about where it takes place.

"That this case had to be brought means the International Whaling Commission is really broke."

View the entire article - Rudd risks the anti-whaling cause - The Australian

Contact: Greg Sherington

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