I am beyond delighted at today’s ruling from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which orders Japan to stop killing whales in the Antarctic under the banner of ‘scientific whaling’. It never was scientific and that falsehood – one that has cost the lives of thousands of whales this century alone – has now been exposed in no less a venue than the World Court, where legal decisions are taken on behalf of the United Nations. The ICJ’s decision is binding and cannot be appealed: Japan has already announced that it will abide by its decision.
Many of us listened to the verdict online with bated breath followed by tears in our eyes: the ruling went further than we had dared to hope. This is a day of celebration for whales and we all of us owe huge thanks to Australia and New Zealand for having the courage and confidence to bring this case to court, and to all those who crafted such a brilliant and coherent case against the travesty that was Japanese ‘scientific whaling’. Great to be able to put it in the past tense!
Now the tension mounts as we await the US decision on what action they propose to take over Icelandic whaling. The deadline is tomorrow, April 1st, and under the Pelly Amendment, President Obama has the authority to impose sanctions on Iceland for its whaling and trade in whale products. WDC is of course in the vanguard of those calling for the US to take strong and decisive action. Fingers crossed that this much-needed run of luck for whales continues.