Initiate Legal Action In The International Court Of Justice

Introduction to International relations

International relations imply for the interaction that takes place between the political authorities of state and non-state. Growth and development of each country is highly influenced from the relationship exist between the states or countries. Hence, all the nations or countries need to place emphasis on developing and maintaining harmonious relationship and protect each other. The present report is based on the decision which is taken by Australia to initiate the legal action in the international court. Moreover, Australians have recognized the importance of whales, dolphins, porpoises. In this context, the present report will discuss the internal and external factors which lead the foreign policy in relation to the projection of Whales in against to Japanese.

Main Body

Australia initiated legal action in the International Court of Justice in May 2010 against Japanese scientific whaling in the Southern Ocean. The decision was believed to underline the commitment of the Australian government to end the Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling in the Southern Ocean. Australia had done extensive consultations with the International Whaling Commission (IWL) and bilaterally with Japan before reaching to that decision. Australia had the support of many other IWL members who shared their goals and objectives and they completely supported their move . The European Union, Latin America countries and others joined with Australia in highlighting the necessity of ending whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary. Various aspects shape the strategy used by countries in dealing with other nations.


The paper will point out how foreign policy of a country is made and the major aspects that influence foreign policy of a country.

Foreign policies are basically designed to help protect the interests of a nation. It is also aimed to protect national security, ideological goals and economic prosperity of a country. Such is realized through a peaceful cooperation with other nations, or through aggression and exploitation. Creating a foreign policy is the role of government and the foreign minister. It is a common trend that majority of nations in the world are able to interact with their counterparts through diplomatic forms in areas of disagreement. The Australian government’s decision to take Japan to the International Court was a reflection of a disagreement in an element of a relationship that is multi-dimensional and has adverse effect on the environment. Diplomatic approach is first considered the better option to solving state differences but if that doesn’t work legal action may be pursued as well. Australia for instance had tried the diplomatic strategy to reach out to Japan and address the whaling concern but the efforts did not change the situation.

Foreign policy of a country is greatly influenced by the political environment within a country hic encompasses all laws, government agencies and lobbying groups. Lobby groups play a significant in foreign policy making as they influence society and individuals . Decisions made the head of state will still revolve around the political environment which they are operating in. International decisions reached by the head state will greatly depend on the domestic politics and the political system determines the heads scope and power in matters concerning foreign policy. Domestic politics will influence choices of the state because leaders want to achieve domestic goals and they are keen to ensure that foreign policy decisions don’t interfere with the domestic agendas. Japan whaling case was brought forth by a conservation group, Humane Society International(HSI), under section 475 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). The application of Australian law to all foreign nationals in Antarctica would be attributed to the Australian sovereignty in Antarctica and the declaration of whale sanctuary within the waters of Australia’s exclusive economic zone around the Antarctic territory. Japan was whaling under the pretext of a scientific research but this was done in large scale which raised great concerns. Whale meat is believed to be sold for consumption in Japan which was linked to the massive hunts.

The influence of political systems can be compromised by Interest Groups and Non- State Actors. Interest groups cut across political lobbyists, military and corporate sector. Political lobbyists and military are perceived to be a broader political environment within a particular country. Relationships between the head of state, policy makers, opposition and media are of great significance when it comes to policy making. When a foreign policy issue arises, the policy makers under the governance of the government head present the issue and its possible solution. The media can sometimes can beat the government and present their own version of an issue that may proof to be convincing to the public . The media is a powerful tool that can be used to shape the public opinion on issues of domestic and international concern. It however be noted that the response will depend on the existing political culture of the country in question. Sometimes the framework presented by the government of the day may spark contest by opposition and the issue may turn to argument in domestic politics.

International bodies influence international society but nation-state may ignore decisions by such bodies to achieve their domestic goals and objectives.

International organizations may have influence on foreign affairs of member states but domestic objectives are given highest priority by the various states. Leaders of international organizations may not have much control on the affairs of a particular nation and in most cases they act as mediators between the head of government for the disagreeing nations. Foreign policy decisions are taken by head of governments with consideration to domestic and international agendas.

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Contrary to the wish of the non-whaling nations, Japan had continued whaling under the pretext of scientific research which they purported to be using lethal means. It argued that it awarded itself special whaling permits which allow killing of whales to better understand the whale cycle and behaviours. Pro-whaling states had worked to prevent amendments aimed at averting any mandatory changes to the special permit provisions beyond them having no legal weight. Australia and New Zealand requested the ICJ to determine that Japan was breaching international obligations in operating its JARPA II scientific programme. The countries needed the ICJ to compel France to cease the project and at the same time revoke any permits allowing the activities and give an assurance that no further action would be taken under JARPAII or similar program . The ICJ ordered that Japan shall revoke any authorization permit or license to kill, take or treat whales in relation to JARPA II and refrain from granting further permits.

International Court of Justice rulings are binding although sovereign states have ignored them previously. After the ruling, Japan stated it respected international law and would abide by the Court decision. In Australia, government and conservationist groups proclaimed that a great victory had been achieved. The ICJ decision was considered of limited value, confined to only one geographical area allowing Japan and other whaling states to move on with their activities virtually unimpeded. ICJ left states free to continue to issue themselves special permits and this prevented the ICW from being able to thwart issuing of special permits by the individual nations. Australian and other conservatives also suffered a setback as the Judges stated categorically that there was nothing in international law that prevented the killing of whales as part of scientific research. The interpretation of the International Criminal Justice greatly had an impact on the foreign policy for the countries . Despite the great hopes of preservationist states, the ICJ ruling did not deter Japan from whaling under the pretext of scientific research. It raises major concerns to the credibility and reliability of the international body in dispensing justice. Individual states may decide to ignore the international court orders and move on with their domestic affairs.

In the early stage of relationship, conflicting situation takes place between the Australia and Japan such as world war ll, whaling etc. Nevertheless, Australian government made decision in relation to making partnership with Japan. Moreover, government authorities found that Japan is a vital export market and taken decision about partnership with the aim to make contribution in the growth as well as development of nation . Along with this, in such time, Japan also found Australia as a reliable source of energy, minerals and other primary products. However, it can be argued that since 1957, there has been a diplomatic relationship which exists between the two nations which are Australia and Japan.

Furthermore, the relation between two countries became more complicated because of the values and mentality regarding the hunting of whales. Now, effective relations take place among the two countries and both are continuously growing in terms of culture, tourism, defence etc. The Australia government has taken very serious and legal action against the whale hunts which has been carried out by Japan. After this action there was wide range of request done by Japan to Australia which demanded the nations support over the issue. Hence, partnership among the two countries act as a constraint and closely influences the actions of government. Moreover, if Australia takes legal action then then Australia may loose the contracts and thereby growth opportunities.

Hence, foreign relations between such two countries are warm and growing over the years. Japan is one of the major economic partner of Australia. Further, it is the second largest trading of Australia and supports it. Now, effective relations take place among the two countries and both are continuously growing in terms of culture, tourism, defence etc. Thus, by building effectual relationship with Japan, Australia has opportunity to reduce such hunting activities to the large extent. Moreover, when two countries share common goals and values then it may result into high control on undesirable activities within the country. Moreover, tourism growth and development of is highly influenced by the level of attraction prevailed in Australia. Hence, by strengthening the relationship country can take effective measures to resolve the issue of whale hunting.

In May 2010, Australia government had taken legal action in the international court of justice in against to the Japanese scientific whaling of southern ocean. The main purpose of such decision making is to finish the Japanese scientific whaling in the southern ocean. During the period of May 2010, before reaching on any decision Australian government had made in-depth discussion with the International Whaling commission (IWL) and Japan . In this regard, large number of members supported the goals and objectives which are carried out by Australian government. Hence, by taking into consideration such aspect it can be said that political leaders made their best efforts for protecting the whales.

Further, along with the internal political authorities, Australia also enjoyed the support of European Union, Latin American countries in relation to saving the whales. Moreover, in Australia, whales and dolphins are the main attraction point for the tourists . In this regard, it is vital for Australia to halt Japanese whale hunt. Hence, by taking into account such aspect Australian government has not taken such decision lightly. Such political authorities have undertaken diplomatic resolution to resolve such issue. However, Australian government failed to gain the political support from whaling countries. In contrast to this, now recent statements of whaling countries have provided Australia with the little hope.

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In addition to this, public of Australia also support the initiatives which are undertaken by the government in relation to the conservation of whales. This support also plays a significant role in the protection of whales to the large extent. Moreover, it also encourages government to work hard and fulfil the objective in relation to eliminating the issue of whale hunting. However, bureaucracy conflicts also take place because Japan is the strategic key partner of Australia. Hence, such conflicts may result into the disagreement of the one element of relationship which is deep, broad and multi-dimensional . In this regard, both Australia and Japan decided that issue related to whale should not be affected to strengths of our global relationship. In against to such decision, it is highly difficult for Australian government to achieve the objective in relation to the saving of whale. Hence, it is highly required for Australian government to undertake legal and diplomatic avenues to achieve the goals.


In conclusion, foreign policy is conducted in a complicated domestic and international environment. It is quite evident that domestic politics play a significant role in shaping the foreign policy of a country. Lobbyists also are a significant group which can influence the public opinion on various issues which have adverse effects. The media is a powerful tool that reflects on the society and can initiate certain perception on the interests and goals for a particular state. Domestic objectives are given the first priority in policy making for a particular country. Along with this, it has been articulated from the report that Japan is the key partner of Australia in terms of trading. It can be seen in the report that due to the whale hunting diplomatic situation takes place in both the countries. Further, it can be revealed from the report that Australian government has taken initiatives in relation to protecting the whales from Japan. Thus, it can be stated that positive and supportive political culture exist in Australia in relation to the protection of whales.

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  • Glasius, Marlies. Expertise in the cause of justice: Global civil society influence on the statute for an international criminal court. Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Goldston, James A. "More Candour about Criteria The Exercise of Discretion by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court." Journal of International Criminal Justice 8.2 (2010): 383-406.
  • Habermas, Jürgen, and Jacques Derrida. "February 15, or what binds Europeans together: a plea for a common foreign policy, beginning in the core of Europe." Constellations 10, no. 3 (2003): 291-297.
  • Hudson, Valerie M. "Foreign Policy Analysis: ActorSpecific Theory and the Ground of International Relations." Foreign Policy Analysis 1, no. 1 (2005): 1-30.
  • Levy, Jack S. "Political psychology and foreign policy." (2003).
  • Roberts, Anthea. "Comparative international law? The role of national courts in creating and enforcing international law." International and Comparative Law Quarterly 60.01 (2011): 57-92.
  • Schill, Stephan W. International investment law and comparative public law. Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Smith, Michael. "Toward a theory of EU foreign policy-making: multi-level governance, domestic politics, and national adaptation to Europe's common foreign and security policy." Journal of European Public Policy 11, no. 4 (2004): 740-758.
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