Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has filed claims against Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) in the U.S. District Court in Washington, seeking a declaration that ICR’s whaling in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica is illegal under international law.
Sea Shepherd said on its website that it is also asking the court to grant an injunction preventing ICR from continuing its illegal whaling, and to ban it from continuing to use violent and dangerous actions to protect its illegal activities from volunteer activists defending the whales.
The requests are part of the counterclaims that Sea Shepherd filed in response to a lawsuit brought by ICR seeking a permanent injunction to prevent Sea Shepherd from interfering with ICR’s illegal whale hunt. ICR’s lawsuit resulted in a temporary injunction by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that required Sea Shepherd and Watson to stay at least 500 yards away from ICR’s whaling fleet while it is killing whales in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. The case is set for trial in fall 2016.
“Sea Shepherd intends to defend the whales in court just as it has done at sea,” said Sea Shepherd attorney Claire Loebs Davis. “Although Sea Shepherd maintains that the U.S. federal courts do not have the jurisdiction to intervene in disputes occurring on the high seas on the other side of the globe, once the courts are involved, they must take into account that ICR is engaged in activity that is illegal under international law, and is using violent and aggressive measures to protect that illegal activity.”
The request for the injunction against Japanese whaling coincides with the meeting of the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) scientific committee currently taking place in San Diego, which will consider whether Japan’s latest proposal to continue to kill whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary complies with the IWC’s global moratorium on commercial whaling and its ban on whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
In the wake of the ICJ decision, Japan has proposed killing nearly 4,000 whales over the next 12 years in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, as part of a new “scientific research” plan. That plan was rejected in February by a 10-person expert panel designated by the IWC’s Scientific Committee, and will be considered by the full Scientific Committee currently meeting in San Diego.© Japan Today