The ICR Today Filed Court Briefs Stating They Intend to Return to Antarctica to Hunt Whales in 2015-2016; Will Seek to Enjoin Other Sea Shepherd Entities from Obstructing Their Operations

File photo: In 2009 crew aboard the Yushin Maru No 3, fire a shotgun to kill a minke whaleIn this 2009 File photo, crew aboard the Yushin Maru No 3 are seen firing a shotgun to kill a minke whaleIn a blatant show of defiance of the recent landmark ruling in The Hague by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) has today filed court briefs stating they intend to return to hunt whales in the Southern Ocean for the 2015-2016 season with a newly designed "research" program and will seek a permanent injunction against Sea Shepherd USA — despite the fact the USA entity is no longer operating in the Southern Ocean — and will also seek to enjoin other Sea Shepherd entities.

The case of Australia vs. Japan was heard by the ICJ in July of last year to decide whether Japan was in breach of its international obligations in implementing their JARPA II “research” program in the Southern Ocean, and to demand that Japan cease implementation of JARPA II and revoke any related permits until Japan can make assurances that their operations conform with international law.

In a vote of 12 to 4 handed down on March 31st, the ICJ ruled that Japan’s whaling program JARPA II was not conducted for the purposes of scientific research as defined under International Whaling Commission regulations. It ordered that Japan revoke the scientific permits given under JARPA II and refrain from granting any further permits under that program. Today, however, the ICR filed briefs in the U.S. District Court in Seattle clearly stating their intent to continue to hunt whales in defiance of this ruling.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Founder Captain Paul Watson had this to say in response to today’s filing: “When the ICJ verdict was issued, I knew that although it was a great victory that vindicated our opposition to illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean, I could see the potential for the ICR to re-write their program and to return. My prediction was they would return for the 2015-2016 season. It seems that this is exactly what they intend to do,” he said. “The statement that Japan issued that they would comply with the ICJ ruling was I believe insincere. Japan has a history of duplicity with regard to whaling. I fully expect that Sea Shepherd Global will be prepared to return to the Southern Ocean in December 2015 to once again defend the integrity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary,“ Captain Watson added.

Upon learning of ICR’s plans, Sea Shepherd USA’s Director of Intelligence and Investigations Scott West stated: "The Japanese clearly intend to violate the intent, if not the letter, of the World Court’s judgment. They are making a mockery of the International Court of Justice and come before the US Courts with very unclean hands. They are the first to cry foul when someone dares to challenge their lies, yet they expect the world to respect the court’s decisions that are in their favor. They are poachers and operate without integrity.”

Clearly, the ICR is unsettled not only by the favorable ICJ ruling but also by Commissioner Peter Shaw’s recent recommendation to the Ninth Circuit Court that Sea Shepherd USA not be held in contempt. In their court brief, the ICR threatened: "If the Ninth Circuit finds it was not Defendants who committed contempt, then Plaintiffs may need to add to this action the parties who did commit the contempt." They also noted: "Plaintiffs expect additional parties they may seek to add to this action would include foreign parties." However, how they intend to bring foreign entities before a U.S. court has yet to be seen.

A status conference will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 16 in the United States District Court, Western District of Washington, 700 Stewart Street, Seattle, Wash. 98101 to set the trial date for a permanent injunction case brought against Sea Shepherd USA from obstructing illegal whaling operations in the Southern Ocean. The meeting is open to the public.

File photo: In 2009, the factory ship Nisshin Maru hauls minke whale up its slipwayIn this 2009 File photo, the factory ship Nisshin Maru hauls a minke whale up its slipway

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