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Top UN court to rule on legality of Japan whale hunt

Published on Mar 28, 2014 10:59 AM
A small boat launched from the Sea Shepherd vessel The Bob Barker manoeuvres alongside the Japanese whaling vessel Yushin Maru 3 on Feb 23, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS/SEA SHEPHERD AUSTRALIA

THE HAGUE (AFP) - The UN's top court will rule on Monday whether Japan has the right to hunt whales in the Antarctic, in an emotive case activists say is make-or-break for the giant mammal's future.

Australia in 2010 hauled Japan to the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing Tokyo of exploiting a loophole by hunting whales as scientific research, despite a 1986 ban on commercial whaling.

Australia has asked the world court to order Japan to stop its JARPA II research programme and "revoke any authorisations, permits or licences" to hunt whales in the Southern Ocean.

During hearings last year, Australia accused Japan of doing nothing more than "cloaking commercial whaling in a labcoat of science".

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