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Iceland

Iceland and her re-adherence to the Convention after leaving in 1992

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Adherence Instruments of adherence to the Convention
2001 Meeting 53rd Annual Meeting, London, July 2001
2002 Meeting 54th Annual Meeting, Shimonoseki, May 2002
2002 Special Meeting 5th Special Meeting, Cambridge, October 2002
2006 Resumption Link to page on Iceland's resumption of commercial whaling
Back to Special Meeting Return to previous section

 


ICELAND AND HER RE-ADHERENCE TO THE CONVENTION AFTER LEAVING IN 1992

Instruments of adherence

Instruments of adherence were deposited on 8 June 2001, 10 May 2002, 10 October 2002. All three instruments stated that Iceland ‘adheres to the aforesaid Convention and Protocol with a reservation to paragraph 10(e) of the Schedule attached to the Convention’.

The first two reservations stated:

‘Notwithstanding the aforementioned reservation, the Government of Iceland will not authorise whaling for commercial purposes by Icelandic vessels while progress is being made in negotiations within the IWC on the RMS. This does not apply, however, in case of the so-called moratorium on whaling for commercial purposes, contained in paragraph 10(e) of the Schedule not being lifted within a reasonable time after the completion of the RMS. Under no circumstances will whaling for commercial purposes be authorised without a sound scientific basis and an effective management and enforcement scheme.’

The reservation contained in the instrument of adherence of 10th October 2002 was somewhat different in that it included a time-limit before which commercial whaling would not resume, i.e.

‘Notwithstanding this, the Government of Iceland will not authorise whaling for commercial purposes by Icelandic vessels before 2006 and, thereafter, will not authorise such whaling while progress is being made in negotiations within the IWC on the RMS. This does not apply, however, in case of the so-called moratorium on whaling for commercial purposes, contained in paragraph 10(e) of the Schedule not being lifted within a reasonable time after the completion of the RMS. Under no circumstances will whaling for commercial purposes be authorised without a sound scientific basis and an effective management and enforcement scheme.’ 


53rd Annual Meeting, London, July 2001

Iceland’s status was determined as a result of the following Chair’s rulings:

  1. the Commission has the competence to determine the legal status of Iceland’s reservation (19 votes in favour, 18 against, one abstention);
  2. the Commission does not accept Iceland’s reservation regarding paragraph 10(e) of the Schedule (19 votes in support, none against, 3 abstentions, 16 countries did not participate);
  3. Iceland is invited to assist as an observer (18 votes in support, 16 against, 3 abstentions).

Iceland had been treated as a member (i.e. could vote) until after the vote on the third ruling, after which it was treated as an observer.


54th Annual Meeting, Shimonoseki, May 2002

The Chair noted that since the new instrument of adherence contained the same reservation as the previous year, the status of Iceland’s membership remained governed by last year’s decisions. He felt bound by these decisions unless and until the Commission decided otherwise. He eventually ruled that the status of Iceland was as agreed last year. His ruling was carried (25 votes in support and 20 against). Given the nature of this ruling, Iceland was not allowed to vote..


5th Special Meeting, Cambridge, October 2002

The Chair considered that since the reservation attached to Iceland’s most recent instrument of adherence was different, the Commission had before it a new instrument of adherence. Under such circumstances, Iceland was allowed to vote. However, since there was again disagreement over the acceptability of Iceland's reservation, the Chair ruled that the procedure followed in London should also be followed at this meeting, i.e. revisit first the issue of the competence of the Commission to determine the legal status of Iceland’s reservation. His ruling was challenged and defeated (16 for and 21 against).

The UK then proposed that the same procedure as used in Shimonoseki be followed, i.e. upholding the decision taken in London. The Chair ruled that this proposal should be voted on immediately. This ruling was challenged but was upheld when put to a vote (18 in support; 18 against). Before voting on this ruling however, there was debate on whether Iceland should be allowed to vote. The Chair ruled that Iceland should be allowed to participate. His ruling was challenged, but upheld when put to a vote (18 in support; 18 against).

The Chair’s ruling that the decisions at IWC/53 and IWC/54 were upheld (i.e. that the IWC had the competence to determine the legal status of Iceland’s reservation, that it did not accept Iceland’s reservation and that Iceland be invited to assist as an observer) was defeated (18 votes in favour, 19 against). Hence Iceland was accepted as a member of the Commission.

The following countries subsequently formally objected to Iceland's reservation by notifying the depository government (USA): Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Monaco, Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA.

Italy, Mexico and New Zealand also objected to the reservation and noted that they do not consider the Convention as being in force between their countries and Iceland.