Iceland leaves the IWC
Statement by Iceland
Yesterday we witnessed numerous illegal acts. In dealing with the issue of Iceland´s adherence to the IWC Convention there were breaches of general principles of international law, the IWC Convention and the IWC´s rules of procedure.
1. The United States failed in its duties as Depositary Government. Iceland deposited a new instrument of adherence on 14 May 2002. Under article X of the IWC Convention the United States´ duty as a depositary is solely to inform other member States of adherences received. According to the same article a State automatically becomes a member of the Convention on the date of deposit of its instrument of adherence. The United States did not treat the Iceland´s instrument of adherence in the same manner as other new instruments and did not notify Iceland as a member of the IWC Convention. The United States has thereby misused its position as a Depositary Government and violated the Convention.
2. The Chairman of the IWC, Mr. Bo Fernholm (Sweden), acted contrary to the IWC Convention by not recognizing Iceland´s membership in accordance with its instrument of adherence.
3. The Chairman also acted contrary to the IWC´s Rules of Procedure. Norway raised a point of order regarding the competence of the IWC to accept or reject Iceland as a member of the IWC. According to provision F.2 (b) of the Rules of Procedure the Chairman has the duty to decide on all questions of order raised at meetings of the Commission. Regardless of this duty the Chairman decided not to deal with this point of order and to close the agenda item in question. This decision may be related to the fact that a majority of the member States of the IWC Convention does not recognize the IWC´s competence in the abovementioned matter.
4. By refusing to accept Iceland as a member of the IWC Convention, a majority of IWC members have violated general principles of international law and the IWC Convention.
All attempts not to recognize Iceland as a member of the IWC Convention are illegal and do therefore not affect Iceland´s status as a member. Almost half of the IWC members consider Iceland to be a member. Iceland considers yesterday´s proceedings totally unacceptable and has therefore decided to take no further part in this meeting of the IWC.