By Geert Vons, Director Sea Shepherd Netherlands and Captain Alex Cornelissen, Global Executive Officer, Sea Shepherd Global (in video).
International Court of Justice – July 15th
Sea Shepherd has been denied access to enter the Peace Palace in order to attend the first session of the second round of oral arguments and observations of Japan.
At first the ICJ representative at the door informed us the hearings were not open to the public. This came as a surprise as in official writing to our attorney we had been offered two seats by the ICJ to attend all Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)sittings.
The lady was very polite though, and obvious very uncomfortable.
When I showed a copy of the written confirmation from the Court to our attorney in which we were invited to attend all hearings, and added that we had been allowed to attend all previous hearings, she sort of confessed she had been given strict orders not to let us in.
She started to really feel uncomfortable, discussed with her colleague. and made a telephone call. After hanging up she informed us it was because of technical problems we were not allowed to attend.
As I could not get any clue of what that was supposed to mean I asked if I could talk to the person she just spoke to.
She did neither want to give a name nor number, and left it up to us as what to do. She was still very polite and I sort of felt sorry for her being the messenger.
As I did have a general telephone number at bottom of my written confirmation, obtained via our attorney, I decided to give it a try.
Another really friendly lady, who also informed us we were not welcome and that she was really sorry. She offered to see what she could do and asked me to call again in ten minutes.
I called again after ten minutes and in the end was informed that ICJ need not to justify as to give a reason why we were not allowed to enter the Peace Palace.
So, we have not been given a concrete reason. Leaves it to speculation.
As mentioned before today was the first session of the second round of oral argument and observations of Japan.
Could it be that under pressure from Japan ICJ did not want SSCS to be present and in order to ban Sea Shepherd therefore had no other choice then to deny entry to all public?
Sea Shepherd has been mentioned several times in the ICJ over the last weeks.
Japanese statistics showed Japan blamed Sea Shepherd for not being able to reach their sampling quota (read; number of whales to be killed).
Good to see Sea Shepherd campaigns have been effective and have saved the lifes of thousands of whales.
Geert Vons, director Sea Shepherd Netherlands