Russia, China block plans for Antarctic marine protections
The International Court of Justice has ruled that Russian and Chinese vessels should not be allowed to operate in Antarctic waters after a maritime court ruled them to be fishing vessels.
The decision means the ships will have to remain at least 100km away from Antarctic waters. The IWC said it was “disappointing, but not a surprise”. It added that it would continue to work with both nations to establish sustainable fishing practices and safeguard Antarctica’s rich biodiversity, which is essential for the region’s economic, technological and cultural development.
The IWC is a body of the United Nations that serves as arbitration body when disputes are about disputes with countries outside the UN. It has been established in 1934 to settle disputes between and among the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom.
The court has now granted both Russia and China a request to block the IWC from ruling on the case, despite the fact it can be heard by any court.
This is the first time Russia and China will have a binding precedent on the legality of the Antarctic region. The countries will also have the opportunity to challenge the ruling in any other forum.
The announcement of the ruling came as Russia and China were in the midst of their bilateral talks ahead of a summit between Moscow and Beijing in April in Moscow.
It’s not just the decision that should be disconcerting for the Antarctic Treaty. It’s the fact that it came from the International Court, a body that is primarily used as a forum for disputes between countries and even organizations like the World Intellectual Property Organization.
You can’t have a court ruling on something, and then be allowed to make binding decisions that are only within the context of the treaty that the court is a part of.
This is the opinion expressed by Richard Falk, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. He said it is both a “landmark decision” and a “very important development for Antarctica and