Attorney-General to represent Australia in international whaling case against Japan

Joint media release

  • The Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP, Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Management, Special Minister of State, Minister for the Public Service and Integrity
  • The Hon. Tony Burke MP, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
  • Senator The Hon. Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs

12 April 2013

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC will appear in Australia's whaling case against Japan which has now been set down for a three week hearing in the International Court of Justice in the Hague from 26 June, 2013.

"I welcome the announcement of the ICJ hearing date. Australia wants this slaughter to end. We will now have our day in court to establish, once and for all, that Japan's whaling hunt is not for scientific purposes and is against international law," said Mr Dreyfus.

"The fixing of the date sets up the final stage in this case brought by the Australian Government. The oral hearings are the last phase of legal proceedings before the Court makes its decision."

Australia commenced the proceedings against Japan on 31 May 2010. The International Court of Justice has received written submissions from both Parties.

"Australia's views on whaling are well known – we condemn all commercial whaling, including Japan's so-called 'scientific' whaling," said Minister for Environment Tony Burke.

"The Australian Government's decision to bring this legal action demonstrates our determination to end commercial whaling."

Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr said Australia's whaling case did not undermine the relationship between Australia and Japan.

"Australia and Japan have agreed that our differences over whaling will not affect the strong bilateral relationship we share," said Mr Carr.

"The International Court of Justice is the appropriate forum to resolve these differences in a calm and measured way."

Counsel appearing in the case with the Attorney-General will include Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson SC, Bill Campbell QC, Professor James Crawford SC, Professor Philippe Sands QC and Professor Laurence Boisson de Chazournes.

"We hope the Court will deliver its decision on the legality of Japan's whaling before the start of the next whaling season," Mr Dreyfus said.

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