From the high seas to the high courts: Australia’s court challenge against Japan over whaling at the Hague has seen unusual legal tactics, according to the director of NGO (non-government organisation) Whales Alive, Mick McIntyre.
McIntyre is an observer in the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Netherlands, and told The Echo that the Japanese have launched a counter-attack on Australia.
‘Japan’s legal counsel opened its case by stating that they did not think this court action brought on by Australia was about the merits of the Japanese so-called “scientific whaling program” but an anti-whaling crusade brought on by the Australian government to supports its own domestic agenda.’
He says Japan instead accused Australia of supporting the collapse of the IWC (International Whaling Commission) and also accused anti-whaling nations of securing new member nations by paying their membership dues in return for voting for the moratorium in 1982.
‘This is very shaky ground for the Japanese,’ McIntyre says. ‘If they want to talk about vote buying in the IWC, bring it on we say; we all know who is doing the vote buying at IWC.’
Ethics versus money
And in an interesting twist of ethics versus money, Japan has hired highly respected Iranian-born human rights lawyer, Payam Akhavan, to demolish the rights of whales.
‘It is incredible that these respected lawyers are being paid the big Yen to sell their soul,’ says McIntyre, but, ‘Australia’s legal team have been outstanding.’
The case continues.