NZ files a declaration of intervention on Antarctic whaling
Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan)
New Zealand files a declaration of intervention in the proceedings under Article 63 of the Statute
THE HAGUE, 21 November 2012. On Tuesday 20 November 2012, New Zealand, invoking Article 63 of the Statute of the Court, filed in the Registry of the International Court of Justice a declaration of intervention in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan).
To avail itself of the right of intervention conferred by Article 63 of the Statute, New Zealand relies on its “status as a party to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling”.
New Zealand contends that “[a]s a party to the Convention, [it] has a direct interest in the construction that might be placed upon the Convention by the Court in its decision in these proceedings”.
In its declaration, New Zealand further explains that its intervention is directed to questions of the construction, in particular, of Article VIII of the Convention, arising in the case. That article provides, inter alia, that “any Contracting Government may grant to any of its nationals a special permit authorizing that national to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research subject to such restrictions as to number and subject to such other conditions as the Contracting Government thinks fit . . .”.
“Given its long-standing participation in the work of the International Whaling Commission, and its views with respect to the interpretation and application of the Convention, including whaling under Special Permit, New Zealand has determined that it is necessary for it to intervene in this case in order to place its interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Convention before the Court”, New Zealand writes in its declaration.
At the end of its declaration, New Zealand provides the following summary of its interpretation of Article VIII: “(a) Article VIII forms an integral part of the system of collective regulation established by the Convention.
(b) Parties to the Convention may engage in whaling by Special Permit only in accordance with Article VIII.
(c) Article VIII permits the killing of whales under Special Permit only if:
i. an objective assessment of the methodology, design and characteristics of the programme demonstrates that the killing is only “for purposes of scientific research”; and
ii. the killing is necessary for, and proportionate to, the objectives of that research and will have no adverse effect on the conservation of stocks; and
iii. the Contracting Government issuing the Special Permit has discharged its duty of meaningful cooperation with the Scientific Committee and the IWC.
(d) Whaling under Special Permit that does not meet these requirements of Article VIII, and not otherwise permitted under the Convention, is prohibited."
New Zealand underlines in its declaration “that it does not seek to be a party to the proceedings” and “confirms that, by availing itself of its right to intervene [under Article 63 of the Statute], it accepts that the construction given by the judgment in the case will be equally binding upon it”.
In accordance with Article 83 of the Rules of Court, Australia and Japan have been invited to furnish written observations on New Zealand’s declaration of intervention. The time-limit for the filing of such observations has been fixed at Friday 21 December 2012.
New Zealand’s declaration of intervention will shortly be available on the Court’s website (http://www.icj-cij.org).
History of the proceedings
The history of the proceedings can be found in the Annual Report of the Court 2011-2012 (paragraphs 214-218), which can be downloaded from the Court’s website (www.icj-cij.org). Click on “The Court”, and then on “Annual Reports”.
No further information can be provided about the positions of Australia and Japan as expressed in their written pleadings, because at this stage of the proceedings the written pleadings of the two Parties are not in the public domain and remain confidential.
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