Americans are Protected Persons in the Hawaiian Kingdom

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, “The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols form the core of international humanitarian law, which regulates the conduct of armed conflict and seeks to limit its effects. They protect people not taking part in hostilities and those who are no longer doing so.” Coverage of the Geneva Conventions also apply to occupied territories where there is no actual fighting. Amnesty International defines war crimes as “crimes that violate the laws or customs of war defined by the Geneva and Hague Conventions.”

Internationally, “protected persons” is a legal term under international humanitarian law that refers to specific protections afforded to civilians in occupied territory whose rights are protected under the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV, and its Additional Protocol. According to Article 4 of the Geneva Convention:

“Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.”

Under this definition, civilians who possess the nationality of the occupying State while they reside in the territory of the occupied State are not protected under the Geneva Convention. Article 147 of the Geneva Convention provides a list of grave breaches, called war crimes, which would apply to protected persons as defined under Article 4.

“Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the present Convention: wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a [occupying] Power, or wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention, taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”

The relevant grave breaches and explanations that would apply to the American occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom can be found in paragraphs 190 through 205 of the Emergency Petition for Writ of Mandamus filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. If you are a protected person whose situation would fall under one of the explanatory paragraphs in the mandamus, a grave breach or war crime may have been committed against you.

Fifty years later, however, this definition of a protected persons was expanded to include the citizenry of the occupying State. This was an evolution of international criminal law ushered in by the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The case was the prosecution and conviction of Duško Tadić who was a Bosnian Serb. After being arrested in Germany in 1994, he faced among other counts, twelve counts of grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV. On May 7, 1997, he was convicted by the trial court on 11 counts but did not include the counts of grave breaches of the Geneva Convention.

In paragraph 608 of its judgment, the trial court found that Tadic was not guilty of 11 counts of grave breaches because the civilian victims possessed the same Yugoslavian citizenship as Tadic who represented the occupying Power in the war. The prosecutors appealed this decision and it was not only reversed by the Appeal Chamber of the ICTY, but it also expanded the definition of protected persons in occupied territory under international humanitarian law.

In its judgment in 1999, the Appeals Chamber concluded:

“[The] primary purpose [of Article 4] is to ensure the safeguards afforded by the [Geneva] Convention to those civilians who do not enjoy the diplomatic protection, and correlatively are not subject to the allegiance and control, of the State in whose hands they may find themselves. In granting its protection, Article 4 intends to look to the substance of relations, not their legal characterisation as such. … Hence, even if in the circumstances of the case the perpetrators and the victim were to be regarded as possessing the same nationality, Article 4 [Geneva Convention] would still be applicable.” Tadic, ICTY Appeals Chamber, Judgment (1999), para. 168 and 169.

This is an important evolution in international criminal law and has a profound impact on the occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Up until 1999, protected persons in the Hawaiian Islands excluded American citizens. But since 1999, the Tadic case has expanded protection to citizens of the occupying State who reside in the territory of an occupied State. The operative word is no longer nationality or citizenship, but rather allegiance that would apply to all persons in an occupied State. This is not to be confused with an oath of allegiance, but rather the law of allegiance that applies over everyone whether they signed an oath or not. Hawaiian law only requires an oath of allegiance for government employees.

Under Hawaiian Kingdom law there is specific wording that covers allegiance. It is found in the Hawaiian Penal Code under sections 2 and 3 of  Chapter VI for the crime of treason.

“Allegiance is the obedience and fidelity due to the kingdom from those under its protection. … An alien, whether his native country be at war or at peace with this kingdom, owes allegiance to this kingdom during his residence therein, and during such residence, is capable of committing treason against this kingdom.”

By expanding the scope and application of protected persons to American citizens residing in the Hawaiian Kingdom, they, along with all other nationalities of foreign States as well as Hawaiian subjects, are afforded equal protection under the Geneva Convention and can be considered victims of grave breaches or war crimes committed against them by American citizens in violation of the Hague and Geneva Conventions.

National Holiday – Independence Day (November 28)

November 28th is the most important national holiday in the Hawaiian Kingdom. It is the day Great Britain and France formally recognized the Hawaiian Islands as an “independent state” in 1843, and has since been celebrated as “Independence Day,” which in the Hawaiian language is “La Ku‘oko‘a.” Here follows the story of this momentous event from the Hawaiian Kingdom Board of Education history textbook titled “A Brief History of the Hawaiian People” published in 1891.

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The First Embassy to Foreign Powers—In February, 1842, Sir George Simpson and Dr. McLaughlin, governors in the service of the Hudson Bay Company, arrived at Honolulu George Simpsonon business, and became interested in the native people and their government. After a candid examination of the controversies existing between their own countrymen and the Hawaiian Government, they became convinced that the latter had been unjustly accused. Sir George offered to loan the government ten thousand pounds in cash, and advised the king to send commissioners to the United States and Europe with full power to negotiate new treaties, and to obtain aHaalilio guarantee of the independence of the kingdom.

Accordingly Sir George Simpson, Haalilio, the king’s secretary, and Mr. Richards were appointed joint ministers-plenipotentiary to the three powers on the 8th of April, 1842.

William RichardsMr. Richards also received full power of attorney for the king. Sir George left for Alaska, whence he traveled through Siberia, arriving in England in November. Messrs. Richards and Haalilio sailed July 8th, 1842, in a chartered schooner for Mazatlan, on their way to the United States*

*Their business was kept a profound secret at the time.

Proceedings of the British Consul—As soon as these facts became known, Mr. Charlton followed the embassy in order to defeat its object. He left suddenly on September 26th, 1842, for London via Mexico, sending back a threatening letter to the king, in which he informed him that he had appointed Mr. Alexander Simpson as acting-consul of Great Britain. As this individual, who was a relative of Sir George, was an avowed advocate of the annexation of the islands to Great Britain, and had insulted and threatened the governor of Oahu, the king declined to recognize him as British consul. Meanwhile Mr. Charlton laid his grievances before Lord George Paulet commanding the British frigate “Carysfort,” at Mazatlan, Mexico. Mr. Simpson also sent dispatches to the coast in November, representing that the property and persons of his countrymen were in danger, which introduced Rear-Admiral Thomas to order the “Carysfort” to Honolulu to inquire into the matter.

Recognition by the United States—Messres. Richards and Haalilio arrived in Washington early in December, and had several interviews with Daniel Webster, theDaniel Webster Secretary of State, from whom they received an official letter December 19th, 1842, which recognized the independence of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and declared, “as the sense of the government of the United States, that the government of the Sandwich Islands ought to be respected; that no power ought to take possession of the islands, either as a conquest or for the purpose of the colonization; and that no power ought to seek for any undue control over the existing government, or any exclusive privileges or preferences in matters of commerce.” *

*The same sentiments were expressed in President Tyler’s message to Congress of December 30th, and in the Report of the Committee on Foreign Relations, written by John Quincy Adams.

Success of the Embassy in Europe—The king’s envoys proceeded to London, whereAberdeen they had been preceded by the Sir George Simpson, and had an interview with the Earl of Aberdeen, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on the 22d of February, 1843.

Lord Aberdeen at first declined to receive them as ministers from an independent state, or to negotiate a treaty, alleging that the king did not govern, but that he was “exclusively under the influence of Americans to the detriment of British interests,” and would not admit that the government of the United States had yet fully recognized the independence of the islands.

Sir George and Mr. Richards did not, however, lose heart, but went on to Brussels March 8th, by a previous arrangement made with Mr. Brinsmade. While there, they had an interview with Leopold I., king of the Belgians, who received them with great courtesy, and promised to use his influence to obtain the recognition of Hawaiian independence. This influence was great, both from his eminent personal qualities and from his close relationship to the royal families of England and France.

Encouraged by this pledge, the envoys proceeded to Paris, where, on the 17th, M. Guizot, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, received them in the kindest manner, and at once engaged, in behalf of France, to recognize the independence of the islands. He made the same statement to Lord Cowley, the British ambassador, on the 19th, and thus cleared the way for the embassy in England.

They immediately returned to London, where Sir George had a long interview with Lord Aberdeen on the 25th, in which he explained the actual state of affairs at the islands, and received an assurance that Mr. Charlton would be removed. On the 1st of April, 1843, the Earl of Aberdeen formally replied to the king’s commissioners, declaring that “Her Majesty’s Government are willing and have determined to recognize the independence of the Sandwich Islands under their present sovereign,” but insisting on the perfect equality of all foreigners in the islands before the law, and adding that grave complaints had been received from British subjects of undue rigor exercised toward them, and improper partiality toward others in the administration of justice. Sir George Simpson left for Canada April 3d, 1843.

Recognition of the Independence of the Islands—Lord Aberdeen, on the 13th of June, assured the Hawaiian envoys that “Her Majesty’s government had no intention to retain possession of the Sandwich Islands,” and a similar declaration was made to the governments of France and the United States.

At length, on the 28th of November, 1843, the two governments of France and England united in a joint declaration to the effect that “Her Majesty, the queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty, the king of the French, taking into consideration the existence in the Sandwich Islands of a government capable of providing for the regularity of its relations with foreign nations have thought it right to engage reciprocally to consider the Sandwich Islands as an independent state, and never to take possession, either directly or under the title of a protectorate, or under any other form, of any part of the territory of which they are composed…”

John C CalhounThis was the final act by which the Hawaiian Kingdom was admitted within the pale of civilized nations. Finding that nothing more could be accomplished for the present in Paris, Messrs. Richards and Haalilio returned to the United States in the spring of 1844. On the 6th of July they received a dispatch from Mr. J.C. Calhoun, the Secretary of State, informing them that the President regarded the statement of Mr. Webster and the appointment of a commissioner “as a full recognition on the part of the United States of the independence of the Hawaiian Government.”

Hawaiian Kingdom files Application Instituting Proceedings at the International Court of Justice

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS, 27 September 2013 — The acting Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom filed with the Registrar of the International Court of Justice an Application Instituting Proceedings against the Republic of Austria, Barbados, the Kingdom Peace Palaceof Belgium, the Republic of Botswana, the Republic of Bulgaria, the Republic of Costa Rica, the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Republic of Djibouti, the Commonwealth of Dominica, the Dominican Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Republic of Finland, Gambia, Georgia, the Hellenic Republic of Greece, the Republic of Guinea, the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, the Republic of Haiti, the Republic of Honduras, the Republic of Ireland, the Republic of Kenya, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Liberia, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Republic of Madagascar, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the United Mexican States, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Norway, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Republic of Paraguay, the Republic of Peru, the Republic of Senegal, the Republic of South Sudan, the Republic of Suriname, the Kingdom of Swaziland, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Swiss Confederation, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, the Togolese Republic, the Republic of Uganda, and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay for treaty violations and serious breaches of peremptory norms. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland have treaties with the Hawaiian Kingdom. All (45) States have accepted the jurisdiction of the Court beforehand, including the Hawaiian Kingdom.

The filing of the Application is directly tied to the Hawaiian Kingdom’s Protest and Demand filed with the President of the United Nations General Assembly on August 10, 2012. The Application is seeking enforcement of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s Demand that States comply with their treaty obligations and obligations under customary international law.

Also submitted with the Application was a Request for the Indication of Provisional Measures of Protection. The request states the “fact that serious breaches of rules of jus cogens have been ongoing for over a century only amplifies the urgent request that the Court indicate provisional measures to protect and preserve the rights of the Hawaiian Kingdom.” The Court is requested to declare that:

a)    All member States of the United Nations, which includes the States herein named, in compliance with the duty of non-recognition imposed under Articles 41(1) and 41(2) of the Articles of State Responsibility for International Wrongful Acts, are under an obligation:

1)    to recognize the illegality and invalidity of the United States of America’s continued presence in the Hawaiian Kingdom;

2)    to refrain from lending any support or any form of assistance to the United States of America with reference to its illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom;

3)    to abstain from entering into treaty relations with the United States of America in all cases whereby the government of the United States of America purports to act on behalf of or concerning the Hawaiian Kingdom;

4)    to abstain from sending consular agents to the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom, purportedly under arrangements and/or agreements with the United States of America, and to withdraw any such agents already there;

5)    to abstain from entering into economic, military and any other form of relationship or dealing with the United States of America on behalf of or concerning the Hawaiian Kingdom, which may entrench its authority over the territory;

b)    With respect to existing bilateral treaties, member States of the United Nations, which includes the States herein named, in compliance with the duty of non-recognition imposed under Articles 41(1) and 41(2) of the Articles of State Responsibility for International Wrongful Acts, must abstain from invoking or applying those treaties or provisions of treaties concluded by the United States of America on behalf of or concerning the Hawaiian Kingdom, which include and/or involve active intergovernmental co-operation.

c)     With respect to multilateral treaties, however, the same rule cannot be applied to certain general conventions such as those of a humanitarian character, the non-performance of which may adversely affect the people of the Hawaiian Kingdom;

d)    All member States of the United Nations, which includes the States herein named, in compliance with the duty of non-recognition imposed under Articles 41(1) and 41(2) of the Articles of State Responsibility for International Wrongful Acts, should not result in depriving the people of the Hawaiian Kingdom of any advantages derived from international co-operation. In particular, while official acts performed by the Government of the United States of America on behalf of or concerning the Hawaiian Kingdom since the occupation began on 12 August 1898 are illegal and invalid, this invalidity cannot be extended to those acts, such as, for instance, the registration of births, deaths and marriages, the effects of which can be ignored only to the detriment of the inhabitants of the Territory.

e)     With respect to non-member States of the United Nations, the illegality of the United States of America’s presence in the Hawaiian Kingdom is opposable to all States in the sense of barring erga omnes the legality of a situation which is maintained in violation of international law: in particular, no State which enters into relations with the United States of America concerning the Hawaiian Kingdom may expect the United Nations or its Members to recognize the validity or effects of such relationship, or of the consequences thereof.

The acting Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom  designated David Keanu Sai, Ph.D., its Ambassador-at-large, as Agent for these proceedings, and Dexter Ke‘eaumoku Ka‘iama, Esq., its Attorney General, as Deputy Agent. Dr. Sai served as lead Agent for the Hawaiian Kingdom in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom (1999-2001) and presented oral arguments at the Peace Palace on December 7, 8, and 11, 2000. Members of the arbitral tribunal included Professor James Crawford, SC, as presiding arbitrator, with Mr. Gavan Griffith, QC, and Professor Christopher Greenwood, QC, serving as associate arbitrators. Professor Greenwood is now a Judge of the International Court of Justice. Both the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice are located in the Peace Palace, The Hague, Netherlands.

Sai_ICCWhile in The Hague, Dr. Sai also met with a member of the International Criminal Court’s Information & Evidence Unit at the Court’s headquarters to inquire into the status of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s Referral to initiate an investigation for war crimes. He confirmed that it is still under review and that the Office of the Prosecutor will be in communication shortly.

Dr. Keanu Sai to Present Hawai‘i’s Occupation to Swiss Diplomats in Zurich

Zurich FlyerThe Swiss Diplomats – Zurich Network has invited Dr. Keanu Sai to the city of Zurich to give a presentation on the prolonged and illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The title of Dr. Sai’s presentation is “Hawai‘i – An American State or a State Under American Occupation.” Professor Niklaus Schweizer, a former Swiss Consul for Hawai‘i and a professor at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, will be giving the introduction. After the presentation there will be a panel discussion comprised of Dr. Sai, Professor Schweizer, and former Swiss Ambassador to the United States and Germany, Dr. Christian Blickenstorfer. The presentation and panel is scheduled for Monday, November 11, 2013.

On July 20, 1864, the Hawaiian Kingdom entered into a Treaty of Friendship, Establishment and Commerce with Switzerland that established perpetual peace and reciprocal liberties. Article 1 states: “Hawaiians shall be received and treated in every canton of the Swiss Confederation, as regards their persons and their properties, on the same footing and in the same manner as now are or may hereafter be treated, the citizens of other cantons. The Swiss shall enjoy in the Hawaiian Islands all the same rights as Hawaiians in Switzerland.” The treaty was negotiated on behalf of the Hawaiian Kingdom by Sir John Bowring, who was a Knight Bachelor of Great Britain and Commander of the Order of Leopold of Belgium. The Hawaiian-Swiss Treaty has not been terminated by either the Hawaiian Kingdom or the Swiss Confederation.

The Diplomatic Network is aware of the Hawaiian-Swiss Treaty, the Hawaiian arbitration, Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, Netherlands, from 1999-2001, the Hawaiian complaint filed with the United Nations Security Council in 2001, and the Hawaiian protest and demand filed with the United Nations General Assembly in 2012. Dr. Sai served as lead agent in the arbitration proceedings and the filings with the United Nations.

The Hawaiian National Flag and Royal Flag

Another example of misinformation centers on the Hawaiian national flag. Lately, there is a common misunderstanding that the current flag that has the Union Jack at the top left corner is not Hawaiian, but rather British that was imposed here in the islands in 1843 by British Naval Officer Lord Paulet. According to the story published in the Honolulu Adverstiser in 2001, Gene Simeona of Honolulu, stated “he resurrected the ‘original’ Hawaiian green, red and yellow striped flag, destroyed by British navy Capt. Lord George Paulet when he seized Hawai‘i for five months in 1843.” Sonoda calls this flag the Kanaka Maoli flag.

Kanaka Maoli Flag

A very simple way to falsify or refute this claim is to show that the flag with the Union Jack existed before 1843. There is a lot of evidence that refutes this claim such as ship logs of foreign ships that visited the islands since 1816, which is the date the flag was created by order of Kamehameha I. Below are two portraits painted around 1819. The first portrait was painted in 1819 of the baptism of Kalanimoku, the Hawaiian Kingdom’s former Prime Minister on board the French ship Uranie after the death of Kamehameha I, and the second portrait was done sometime after 1819 of the Hawaiian ship commanded by Captain Alexander Adams during the reign of Kamehameha II. Both ships had the presence of Kamehameha II.

Baptism of Kalanimoku

Hawn Flag (Adams Collection)

The second portrait is also called a flagship that has both the national flag and the royal flag. The royal flag, also called the royal ensign, is a flag that signals the presence of the Hawaiian monarch and in this portrait it signaled the presence of  Kamehameha II on board. The royal ensign also flies at the residence of the Hawaiian monarch and wherever the monarch travels.

Royal Ensign

Sonoda’s claim that the Union Jack symbolizes British colonialism in Hawai‘i is also not accurate, because Kamehameha I joined the British Empire voluntarily, along with his principle chiefs, on February 25, 1794, when Kamehameha entered into an agreement with British Captain George Vancouver. The agreement provided that the British government would not interfere with the kingdom’s religion, government and economy—“the chiefs and priests, were to continue as usual to officiate with the same authority as before in their respective stations.”

If the island Kingdom of Hawai‘i was colonized, Kamehameha would not have maintained the status of King, but would have been replaced by a British Governor-General. Queen Victoria recognized the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent and sovereign State on November 28, 1843 after Lord Paulet’s seizure from February to July 1843. Therefore, Sonodo’s other claim of Lord Paulet’s seizure is true, but there is no evidence that the green, red and yellow striped flag ever existed.