Japan’s Center for Glocal Studies Publishes Article on the Acting Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom

Japan’s Seijo University’s Center for Glocal Studies has published, in its latest journal for 2016, an article authored by Dennis Riches titled “This is not America: The Acting Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom Goes Global with Legal Challenges to End Occupation [this is a hot link to download the article].” The word Glocal Studies is a combination of the words Global and Local Studies.

The study focused on the American occupation of Hawai‘i and its global impact, which includes war crimes. It also included an interview of Dr. Keanu Sai by the author who is a faculty member of Seijo University, Japan. Seijo’s Glocal Research Center is also supported by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

In his concluding remarks of the study, the author wrote:

I became interested in Hawai‘i’s status as an occupied country through an earlier interest in the struggle of Okinawans to have US military bases removed from their territory. I naively thought, like many in Japan, that the US should move these military operations back to Hawai‘i because they rightly belong on American territory. Yet as I compared the two places, I learned that under international law Hawai‘i actually had a stronger claim than Okinawa on the right to reject an American military presence. Unfortunately, Okinawa never had foreign treaties and recognition as an independent state before it was absorbed by Japan. This leaves Okinawa to fight for self-determination through a political negotiation with the Japanese government, and the Japanese government is very committed to its alliance with America. Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated in his speech of August 15, 2015, “We shall abandon colonial rule forever and respect the right of self-determination of all peoples throughout the world,” it is unlikely that he had Okinawans in mind, or anyone specifically, as a people he would assist in becoming independent.

During the interview, as a spokesperson for the provisional government, Professor Sai was careful not to discuss the policy or ideology that a future legitimate government would follow. Those are to be decided by democratic choices that Hawaiians make after the occupation ends. However, it was encouraging to hear Professor Sai, a former US Army captain, express a strong personal view that Hawai‘i’s record as a neutral country is not something that should be up for future debate. It’s a fundamental value that makes the work to restore the nation worthwhile, and it is something that can inspire the global community as well.

There is an increasing global desire for America to scale back its interventionism and close its global network of military bases. The day has come when the world doesn’t want it, and America can no longer afford it. It is ironic that a place that everyone thinks is American is the place that has the strongest chance of using international law to expel the American military presence. Other nations are bound by their treaties and Status of Forces Agreements. It is also inspiring too to think that this will happen in the place that was the last place on the globe to be inhabited by humans, and the last to be contacted by the European explorers who launched the age of Western Empire.

Today, Western science turns its back on earthly problems as it tries to build telescopes and train astronauts to Mars-walk on Hawaiian mountains, but for those who prefer to deal with the home we have, Hawai‘i can be a symbol of our last hope to avoid the catastrophes of environmental destruction and war, just as it was a last hope for the Polynesian explorers who first came in the years of the early Christian calendar—an interesting coincidence considering the peaceful aspirations of Christianity that preceded the meeting of two cultures in Hawai‘i in the 18th century. Now that Japan has reinterpreted its “peace” constitution to allow for overseas deployments in assistance of allies, the world should support Hawai‘i not only for the sake of self-interested realism but more importantly for the role Hawai‘i can play as a new standard bearer of the idea that nations can renounce war, choose neutrality and gain security from a system of international law that protects their sovereignty.

National Holiday – Independence Day

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.


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.”

In Honor of Timoteo Ha‘alilio, A True Hawaiian Statesman

William RichardsBelow is a reprint of an article published in the Polynesian newspaper in 1845. The author is William Richards being one of the commissioners along with Timoteo Ha‘alilio and Sir George Simpson who were commissioned by King Kamehameha III with the purpose of securing the recognition of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State from Great Britain, France and the United States. Of the three, Ha‘alilio did not survive. He passed away on the ship The Montreal on his way home after departing Hawai‘i in 1842.


HaalilioThe Montreal, from Boston, arrived off our harbor on Sunday last, at day break. Her ensign was noticed to be half-mast, and various conjectures began to circulate through the town, when William Richards, Esq., H.H.M.’s Commissioner to the U. States and Europe, whose arrival has been so long and anxiously awaited, landed and proceeded directly to the palace, where he immediately made known to their Majesties the melancholy news of the death of his fellow Commissioner, Mr. T. Haalilio, who died at sea on the 3d Dec. ult. The sad intelligence soon spread over the place; the flags of the men of war, merchant vessels, the consulates, batteries and other places, were immediately lowered to half-mast as a general expression of sympathy at the nation’s loss. Great hopes had been entertained both among Hawaiians and foreigners, of the good results that would ensue to the kingdom from the addition to its councils of one of so intelligent a mind, stored as it was with the fruits of observant travel, and the advantages derived from long and familiar intercourse in the best circles of Europe and the United States. A numerous band of personal friends to whom he had been endeared from his earliest intercourse by his sincerity of manners and peculiarly affectionate deportment, were earnestly looking to welcome him home. But above all, their Majesties, his intimate friends, the Governors, the other high chiefs and his widowed mother were awaiting his arrival with an earnestness of hope that the deepest affections of the heart can alone produce. The last tidings from him had been those of health. He was then soon to embark, and his speedy arrival to the shores and friends he loved so well, was anticipated without a doubt. So unexpected a termination of his existence, after having escaped the dangers of long and trying journe[y]s and voyagings, while as it were, on the very eve of again treading his native land, brings with it more than common anguish. It is not for us to life the veil and expose the scene which ensued at the palace upon the communication of the tidings. The whole court were there assembled. Those who had been suddenly deprived of their choicest hope when on the eve of its full indulgence, can alone estimate the bereavement.

It is satisfactory to know that every attention affection or sympathy could suggest, was afforded the deceased. Previous to our own departure from the United States, we were a witness to the deep interest and respect which Mr. Haalilio received in the refined society of Boston. But our already crowded columns will not allow us further to dilate. From Mr. Richards he received in all stages of his journey the most unremitting care, and towards the close of his life he was ever at his bed-side. Our readers will be able to glean from the brief memoir which follows this, prepared by Mr. R. some further insight into his life and untimely end. We say untimely, but man seeeth not as god seeeth.

Haalilio was born in 1808, at Koolau; Oahu. His parents were of respectable rank, and much esteemed. His father died while he was quite young, and his widowed mother subsequently married the Governor of Molokai, an island depend[e]nt on the Governor of Maui. After this death, she retained the authority of the island, and acted as Governess for the period of some fifteen years.

At the age of about eight years, Haalilio removed to Hilo on Hawaii, where he was adopted in the family, and became one of the playmates, of the young prince, now King of the Islands. He traveled round to different parts of the Islands with the prince, conforming to the various heathenish rites which were then in vogue. From that period he remained one of the most intimate companions and associates of the King.

At the age of about thirteen, he commenced learning to read, and was a pleasant pupil and made great proficiency. There were then no regularly established schools, and he was a private pupil of Mrs. Bingham. He learned to read English as well as Hawaiian, though at that period he did not understand what he read. He was taught arithmetic and penmanship by Mr. Bingham, and was early employed by the King to do his writing–not as an official secretary, but as an amanuensis or clerk. As be advanced in years he had various duties and employments assigned him, requiring skill and responsibility. Being associated with the King, he was always received into society with him, and thus enjoyed various advantages which he prized very much and improved in the best manner. He thus became acquainted with the usages of good society which he never failed to adopt as fast as he became acquainted with them.

To him also the King committed the charge of his private purse, which he held till the time of his embarkation. It thus became his duty to make most of the purchases required by the King, and he thereby had opportunity to become acquainted with the detail of mercantile business, of which he acquired a very commendable knowledge. His habits of business were many of them worthy of imitation even by the most enlightened. He was in a good degree systematic, and was extremely careful of every thing committed to this charge.

Besides acquaintance with mercantile transactions, he also acquired a very full knowledge of the political relations of the country. He was a strenuous advocate for a constitutional and representative government, and aided not a little in effecting those changes by which the rights of the lower classes have been secured. He was well acquainted with the practical influence of the former system of government, and considered a change necessary to the welfare of the nation.

The King and Chiefs could not fail to see the real value of such a man, and they therefore promoted him to offices to which his birth would not, according to the old system, have entitled him. He was properly the Lieutenant-Governor of the Island of Oahu, and regularly acted as Governor during the absence of the incumbent. It was expected also that he would succeed the present Governor in his office, had he outlived him. He was also elected a member of the council of Nobles, and materially aided that body in their deliberations. At the last meeting of the Legislature previous to his leaving the country, he was chosen President of the Treasury Board, and thus in a considerable degree he had control of the finances of the nation.

In the month of April, 1842, he was appointed a joint Commissioner with Mr. Richards, to the Courts of the U.S.A, England and France. He embarked on the 18th of July following on board the sch. Shaw, and arrived at Mazatlan Sept. 1st. While on the passage he often talked of home and friends with a tenderness and emotion that showed a high degree of sensibility and refinement. On his arrival at port, he was received with great hospitality. In crossing Mexico, he was deeply interested in noticing the peculiarities of the scenery, the character of the people, and the natural history of the country. Nothing escaped his observation; and the correctness and good sense of his remarks, rendered him not merely a pleasant but a profitable companion. After spending a fortnight at Vera Cruz, he was by the politeness of Capt. Newton received on board the U.S. steamer Missouri, about to sail to the mouth of the Mississippi. On board that vessel he had the company of Mr. Mayer, the U.S. Sec. of Legation at Mexico; and Mr. Southall, Bearer of Despatches, with whom he proceeded to New Orleans, and then by the mail route to Washington, where he arrived on the 3d of Dec. The results of his embassy there, are already before the public. After spending a month at Washington, and having accomplished the main objects of embassy there, he proceeded to the north, making a short stay of only two days in New York; but on his arrival in the western part of Massachusetts, was attacked by a severe cold, brought on by the inclemencies of the weather, followed by a change in the thermometer of about sixty degrees in twenty-four hours. Here was probably laid the foundation of that disease by which his short but eventful life has been so afflictingly closed.

He however so far recovered that he embarked for England in the steamer Caledonia, on the 2d of Feb. 1843, and arrived in London on the 18th of the same month, and was apparently at that time in perfect health. He immediately entered on the business of his embassy, and before six weeks had expired, had the happiness to receive from the Earl of Aberdeen, the official and solemn declaration that “Her Majesty’s Government are willing and have determined to recognize the independence of the Sandwich Islands under their present Sovereign.” He was also received and treated with high consideration by all persons of distinction to whom he was introduced. The Hon. Mr. Ellis; Sir Henry Pelly; the Earl of Selkirk; the Duke and Duchess of Sommerset; Sir Augustus d’Este, cousin of the Queen; the Lord Chamberlain; and the Mayor of London, were among the number of those from whom he received special attentions. While in Europe, as well as in the U.S.A., he made it a special business to visit and examine all objects of public interest which claim the attention of the traveller. The various manufacturing establishments, the museums, the hospitals, the prisons, the great works of architecture, the ancient palaces and cathedrals, the bridges, dockyards, and mausoleums of the dead,–the public schools and institutions of charity, and various religious establishments; all received his attention, and produced an influence on his mind which it was most interesting to witness.

After accomplishing the object of his embassy to England, he proceeded to France, where he was received in the same respectful manner as in England, and after carious delays, finally succeeded in obtaining from the French Government, not only a recognition of independence, but also a mutual guarantee from England and France that that independence should be respected. In Belgium he was honored with an interview with the King Leopold, and received the same recognition of independence as had been obtained from the other nations. The persons from whom he received special attentions in France, were M. Guizot; Count and Countess Gasparin; the Lafayette family; Count de la Bonde; Duke de Caze; Admiral Baudin; Duke de Broglie; the Baron Champloies; Count Pellet; Count Salvandy; M. de Toqueville; Lady Elgin, and others. In all the society he visited, he never failed to secure entire respect.

After spending about fifteen months in Europe, he returned to the U. S. A. in the Britannia, and reached Boston on the 18th of May ult. It should have been mentioned however, that while in Paris in June 1843, he was affected by a cold, rheumatic pains and coughs, which soon yielded to medical treatment, and his health again became good. But in Jan. last he was more seriously afflicted, being confined to his room, and mostly to his bed, for a period of more than four weeks. At this time his cough was very severe, the soreness of his breast great, and his symptoms in many respects threatening. He soon recovered, however, and on his arrival in the U.S.A. was in good health. He spent most of the summer in traveling. He visited Washington again, and proceeded to Wheeling, Va.; thence to Pittsburg, and on to Cleveland, Ohio, and down the lake to Buffalo, and Niagara Falls; thence through lake Ontario to Syracuse, Albany, and down the Hudson to New York.

He subsequently returned to Albany, and thence on through White-Hall and lake Champlain to Montreal in Canada. He returned through the interior of Vermont and New Hampshire to Boston, where he spent a few weeks, visiting the various places of importance in that vicinity; Cambridge, Charleston, Roxbury, Plymouth, Quincey, Newburyport, Andover, Lowell, and other places. It is impossible to describe the interest that he took in these visits, or the profit he appeared to derive from them.

But it is now time to revert to another trait in his character; I mean his religious views and affections.

But a few days after we embarked from the Islands, as he opened his trunk, I noticed the Hawaiian Bible lying in it, which he took and began to read. This was the commencement of a practice which he followed till his frame was too weak to follow it longer. Few if any days passed except when actually traveling or employed in important business, in which he was not seen reading that precious book. A few days previous to his death he told me he had read it twice through in course since he left the Islands, beside all his incidental reading. Besides the Scriptures, he read much in other books of a religious character, though his reading was by no means confined to nor was it principally religious books. After exhausting his Hawaiian library, he read considerable in English.

To show his feelings on the subject of prayer, I will mention, that after traveling in Mexico for a number of successive days, and every night being in the midst of company and bustle, without a possibility of retirement, we at last arrived at the hospitable dwelling of an E[n]glish gentlemen, who at bed time conducted us to a retired and pleasant chamber. Our host had scarcely left us when Haalilio turned his eyes and surveying the room for a moment said with an expressive countenance, “We have at last found a place where we can pray.” He showed that he was not a stranger to prayer. The apparent humility with which he made confession of sins, the fervency with which he asked Divine aid in the business of our embassy, and the tenderness with which he implored the blessing of Heaven on his friends and countrymen, early led me to feel that prayer with him was not a mere empty form. From that time down to the last sad hour of his life, I had evidence that in a good degree he kept the commandment.—”Be instant in prayer.” Many and many a night when he supposed me to be asleep, have I heard his voice or rather whisper, laying open his heart before his Maker.

By the deep interest which he manifested in a faithful observance of the Sabbath, he showed that he was not regardless of the Divine requisitions. While in France and Belgium, never a Sabbath passed in which he did not express his astonishment at the public, open, and constant violation of God’s holy day. On the contrary, while in England and the U. S. A. he as often expressed his admiration as he witnessed the stillness of the streets and the multitudes of those who thronged the house of God.

The illness which terminated his life commenced on the 13th of Sept. last, while in Brooklyn, New York. At first he merely complained of slight rheumatic pain, and indisposition to exercise. At the end of a week it suddenly increased and exhibited the usual marks of a cold. Medicine was promptly administered, and after keeping his room for a week, he was so much better as to leave it and take exercise in open air. But as he recovered from his rheumatism, I noticed an increase of cough, especially in the morning. To this I called the attention of the physician. He considered the cough as merely symptomatic, and giving a common cough mixture, predicted its early removal. On the 16th of Oct. he removed to Boston, and the first physicians of the city were immediately called. They pronounced his lungs sound, and his disease to be a slow fever. On the third day however, their opinion changed, and they thought his lungs affected, but not seriously. At their advice, and the advice of numerous other friends, he was removed to the Massachusetts Hospital, where every thing was done which science could prescribe, or medicine effect. But his disease made rapid strides, and his flesh wasted fast.

During the whole period of his illness he took a rational and correct view of his own case. He early discovered the danger of his symptoms, yet never appeared alarmed, nor renounced the hope of recovery, until a few days previous to his death. And in all circumstances he appeared calm and resigned, saying, “Father, not my will but thine be done.” While at the Hospital, I heard him whisper this in prayer, at the still hour of midnight, while he supposed I was asleep. On one occasion, I noticed him wiping the tear from his cheek, and went to his bedside to sympathi[z]e and comfort him. He immediately said, “I was not weeping for myself, but for you.” I inquired if he was not anxious to live and reach the Islands. He replied, “Not on my own account. I [s]hould indeed be glad to tell the chiefs and people what I have seen, and in their presence dedicate myself to God; but respecting myself I do not feel anxious.” The great subjects of those prayers which I overheard were confessions of sin, pleading for relief from suffering, imploring blessings on his mother, on the King and on his countrymen. He prayed also that he might live to reach the Islands; but this prayer was usually conditional, and ended with “Aia no ia oe”–it is with thee, or, they will be done. Before he came on board, he dictated a few affecting sentences to the King and Chiefs.–The second Sabbath we were at sea, he became convinced that he could not live, and gave farther charge to be delivered to the King and Chiefs. He expressed also a wish to be bapti[z]ed. On the evening of that Sabbath, while speaking of his pain and sufferings and immediate prospect of death, he added, “But this is the happiest day of my life. My work is done. I am ready to go.” He continued in the same general state of mind to the time of his departure. During the last few hours of his life he prayed several times, but I only understood one important sentence, which was nearly like this: “My Father, thou hast not granted my desire, once more to see the land of my birth, and my friends there, but do not, I entreat thee, refuse my request to see they kingdom, and my friends who are dwelling with thee.” At about four o’clock he slapped his arms about my neck, pulled my face down to his, and kissed me, then said, “Heaha ke koe?” What further remains? I replied, “Eternal life in Heaven, if you believe in Jesus. He will be your King, and angels will be your associates; there will be no groans there, no parting, no weakness, no anguish or pain, and no sin.” He replied, “That is plain; I understand it well; but I have no painful anxiety on that subject, and it was not to that that my question related. What further have I to do here?” I replied, “It is with the Lord; I know not: all your charges to me I have put down in writing, and shall faithfully deliver them according to your directions.” A little while after, he reached out his hand, took hold of mine and shook it with a smile, and then let go. At a quarter before seven, I perceived his again in prayer; but his voice soon died away, and I perceived that his end was near; and at seven, his spirit took its flight.

Settling the Confusion of Sovereignty and Independence

There is still much confusion regarding the terms sovereignty and independence in the Hawaiian community, which is the result of denationalization through Americanization. First there are two sovereignties – “internal” and “external.” By definition, sovereignty is the supreme governmental authority over the territory of a State. Where a particular State may have “internal” sovereignty over its territory, it may not have “external sovereignty” regarding its place as a State in international law. An example of this is the State of New York, which has “internal” sovereignty over its territory, but its “external” sovereignty is in the United States of America. It is the United States, and not New York, that is the independent State.

Because international law distinguishes between “internal” and “external” sovereignties, a State would remain independent and sovereign, despite its government, which exercises its internal sovereignty, having been overthrown by another State and subsequently occupied. This is why the law of occupation mandates the occupier to administer the laws of the occupied State under Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Convention, IV.

Section 358 of the United States Army Field Manual 27-10 clearly articulates this point, where “military occupation confers upon the invading force the means of exercising control for the period of occupation. It does not transfer the sovereignty to the occupant, but simply the authority or power to exercise some of the rights of sovereignty.”

Below is an article that was originally posted December 10, 2013

In Hawai‘i there is a political trend called the sovereignty or independence movement that began in the 1970s. This political wing, which grew out of the Hawaiian cultural renaissance movement, is comprised of diverse groups of aboriginal Hawaiians working toward the goal or aspiration of achieving sovereignty or independence. These groups vary in ideologies and organization, but all of them have been operating on the false assumption that the United States has independence and sovereignty over Hawai‘i and therefore the goal is separation or secession through a process commonly referred to as self-determination. According to the United Nations, self-determination is the right of the people of a non-sovereign nation to choose their own form of governance separate from the foreign State that has the sovereignty and independence under international law.

Actions taken by these groups are centered on political activism that have taken many forms at both the national and international levels. This political trend has led to confusion regarding Hawai‘i’s true status and basic terminology and the application of the terms “sovereignty” and “independence.” Also adding to the confusion is the psychological effects of “presentism” and “confirmation bias.” Presentism is “an attitude toward the past dominated by present-day attitudes and experience,” and confirmation bias is “a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions, leading to statistical errors.”

Sovereignty by definition is absolute authority exercised by a State over its territory, territorial seas, and its nationals abroad, which is independent of other States and their authority over their territory, territorial seas, and its nationals abroad.  Authority over a State’s nationals abroad is called personal supremacy, and authority over territory is territorial sovereignty. Therefore, sovereignty is associated with political independence and the terms are often interchangeable.

The term State, under international law, means a political unit that has a centralized government, a resident population, a defined territory and the ability to enter and maintain international relations with other States. A State is a legal person in international law that possesses rights and obligations. A nation, however, is a group of people bound together by a common history, language and culture. Every State is a nation or a combination of nations, but not every nation or nations comprise a State. Since the nineteenth century, a State comes into existence only if other States have recognized it, which represents the entirety of the international order. In other words, a few States may have given explicit recognition, but the majority hasn’t. Until the majority of States have provided recognition to the nation or group of nations, international law does not recognize the new State because its independence over its territory, territorial seas, and its nationals abroad has not been acknowledged by the international community of States.

The most recent example of a sovereignty movement by a nation seeking State sovereignty and independence and ultimately achieving it was Palestine. On November 29, 2012, the member States of the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestinian Statehood. Up to this date, Palestine was a nation seeking sovereignty and independence, which is called self-determination. Once a State has been recognized the recognizing States cannot deny it later, and there exists a rule of international law that preserves the independence of an already recognized State, unless that State has relinquished its independence and sovereignty by way of a treaty or customary practice recognized by international law.

According to the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ), in the 1927 seminal case S.S. Lotus between France and Turkey, “International law governs relations between independent States. The rules of law binding upon States therefore emanate from their own free will as expressed in conventions (treaties) or by usages generally accepted as expressing principles of law and established in order to regulate the relations between these co-existing independent communities or with a view to the achievement of common aims. Restrictions upon the independence of States cannot therefore be presumed.” In other words, once a State is acknowledged as being independent it will continue to be independent unless proven otherwise. Therefore, the State will still have sovereignty and independence over its territory, territorial seas, and its nationals, even when its government has been overthrown and is militarily occupied by a foreign State. During occupations the sovereignty remains vested in the occupied State, but the authority to exercise that sovereignty is temporarily vested in the occupying State, which is regulated by the Hague and Geneva Conventions, and international humanitarian law.

When the PCIJ stated that restrictions upon the independence of States could not be presumed, it did not mean that international law could not restrict States in its relations with other States that are also independent. In the Lotus case, the PCIJ explained, “Now the first and foremost restriction imposed by international law upon a State is that—failing the existence of a permissive rule to the contrary—it may not exercise its power in any form in the territory of another State. In this sense jurisdiction is certainly territorial; it cannot be exercised by a State outside its territory except by virtue of a permissive rule derived from international custom or from convention (treaty).” The PCIJ continued, “In these circumstances, all that can be required of a State is that it should not overstep the limits which international law places upon its jurisdiction; within these limits, its title to exercise jurisdiction rests in its sovereignty.”

The United States Supreme Court in 1936 recognized this restriction and limitation of a State’s authority in international law in U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Corp. The U.S. Supreme Court stated, “Neither the Constitution nor the laws passed in pursuance of it have any force in foreign territory unless in respect of our own citizens…, and operations of the nation in such territory must be governed by treaties, international understandings and compacts, and the principles of international law. As a member of the family of nations, the right and power of the United States in that field are equal to the right and power of the other members of the international family. Otherwise, the United States is not completely sovereign.”

In 2001, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), in its dictum in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, verified Hawai‘i to be an independent State. In its arbitral award, the PCA stated, “in the nineteenth century the Hawaiian Kingdom existed as an independent State recognized as such by the United States of America, the United Kingdom and various other States, including by exchanges of diplomatic or consular representatives and the conclusion of treaties.” As an independent State, international law provided a fundamental restriction on all States, to include the United States of America, that it may “not exercise its power in any form in the territory of another State.”

Since 1898, the United States has unlawfully exercised its power within the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom militarily, legislatively and economically. On July 7, 1898, the United States Congress enacted a joint resolution unilaterally annexing the Hawaiian Kingdom over the protests of Hawai‘i’s Queen and people. Two years later, Congress enacted another law by creating a territorial government that took over the governmental infrastructure of the Hawaiian Kingdom that was previously high jacked by insurgents since 1893 with the support of the United States military. In 1959, the Congress again passed legislation transforming the territorial government into the 50th state of the American Union. Under both international law and United States constitutional law, these Congressional actions have no force and effect in Hawai‘i. Despite the propaganda and lies that have been perpetuated since the beginning of the occupation that Hawai‘i was annexed by a treaty, the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to be an independent State that still retains its personal supremacy over its nationals abroad, and territorial sovereignty over its territory and territorial seas. The exercising of this authority, however, is limited only by the Hague and Geneva Conventions and the fact of an illegal and prolonged occupation.

A common statement made by sovereignty advocates is that the people have to collectively decide on the question of sovereignty and that it should be put to a vote. This is incorrect if Hawai‘i is already a sovereign and independent State. This prospect is valid only if Hawai‘i is a nation seeking sovereignty and independence, which is commonly referred to as “nation-building” under a people’s right to self-determination, but Hawai‘i is not. Self-determination and nation-building is the United Nations process by which sovereignty and independence is sought, but it is not guaranteed. This process provides to the people of a non-sovereign nation who have been colonized by a foreign State to choose whether or not they want independence from the foreign State, free association as an independent State with the foreign State, or total incorporation into the foreign State.

Recently, Maohi Nui (French Polynesia) has been reaffirmed by the United Nations as having a right to choose independence from France, free association with France, or total incorporation into France. Maohi Nui is by definition a sovereignty movement and education is key to ensuring that the people decide Maohi Nui’s status through decolonization with full knowledge, and not be influenced or coerced by political activism that is French driven. It won’t be easy for Maohi Nui, but the process of exercising self-determination should be fair under United Nations supervision and in line with General Assembly resolutions.

If other independent States cannot affect or change the independence of an established State and its sovereignty under international law, how can Hawai‘i’s people believe they can do what States can’t? Because the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist under international law as an independent State, not only is the sovereignty movement rendered irrelevant, but also the status of Hawai‘i as an occupied State renders the State of Hawai‘i government and other federal agencies in the Hawaiian Islands self-proclaimed. It is within this international legal framework that actions taken by Federal government officials, State of Hawai‘i government officials, and County government officials are being reported to international authorities for war crimes under the Hague and Geneva Conventions, and the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court.

Re-education is crucial for Hawai‘i’s people and the world on the reality that Hawai‘i is an already independent and sovereign State that has been under an illegal and prolonged occupation. Before restoration of the de jure Hawaiian government takes place in accordance with the 1893 executive agreements, international law mandates that the occupying Power must establish a military government in order to administer Hawaiian Kingdom law (Article 43, Hague Convention, IV) and to also begin the withdrawal of all military installations from Hawaiian territory (Article 2, Hague Convention, V). This is the first and primary step toward transition.

The following terms and definitions are from the Hawaiian history textbook “Ua Mau Ke Ea-Sovereignty Endures.”

Independent State—A state that has absolute and independent legal and political authority over its territory to the exclusion of other states. Once recognized as independent, the state becomes a subject of international law. According to United States common law, an independent State is a people permanently occupying a fixed territory bound together by common law habits and custom into one body politic exercising, through the medium of an organized government, independent sovereignty and control over all persons and things within its boundaries, capable of making war and peace and of entering into international relations with other communities around the globe.

Sovereignty—Supreme authority exercised over a particular territory. In international law, it is the supreme and absolute authority exercised through a government, being independent of any other sovereignty. Sovereignty, being authority, is distinct from government, which is the physical body that exercises the authority. Therefore, a government can be overthrown, but the sovereignty remains.

Colonization—Colonization is the building and maintaining of colonies in one territory by people from another country or state. It is the process, by which sovereignty over the territory of a colony is claimed by the mother country or state, and is exercised and controlled by the nationals of the colonizing country or state. Though colonization there is an unequal relationship between the colonizer and the native populations that reside within its colonial territory. These native populations are referred to as indigenous peoples and form the basis of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

De-colonization—De-colonization is the political process by which a non-self-governing territory under the sovereignty of the colonizing state or country becomes self-governing. According to the United Nations Resolution 1541 (XV), Principles which should guide Members in determining whether or not an obligation exists to transmit the information called for under Article 73 e of the Charter, “A Non-Self-Governing Territory can be said to have reached a full measure of self government by: (a) Emergence as a sovereign independent State; (b) Free association with an independent State; or (c) Integration with an independent State.”

Self-determination—A principle in international law that nations have the right to freely determine their political status and pursue their economic, social and cultural development. The international community first used the term after World War I where the former territorial possessions of the Ottoman Empire and Germany were assigned to individual member countries or states of the League of Nations for administration as Mandate territories. The function of the administration of these territories was to facilitate the process of self-determination whereby these territories would achieve full recognition as an independent and sovereign state. After World War II, territories of Japan and Italy were added and assigned to be administered individual member countries or states of the United Nations, being the successor of the League of Nations, and were called Trust territories. Also added to these territories were territories held by all other members of the United Nations and called Non-self-governing territories. Unlike the Mandate and Trust territories, they were not assigned to other member countries or states for administration, but remained under the original colonial authority who reported yearly to the United Nations on the status of these territories. Self-determination for Non-self-governing territories had three options: total incorporation into the colonial country or state, free association with the colonial country or state, or complete independence from the colonial country or state. Self-determination for indigenous peoples does not include independence and is often referred to as self-determination within the country or state they reside in.

Sovereignty movement—A political movement of a wide range of groups in the Hawaiian Islands that seek to exercise self-determination under international law as a Non-self-governing unit, or to exercise internal self-determination under the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The commonality of these various groups is that their political platforms are based on aboriginal Hawaiian identity and culture and use of the United Nations term indigenous people. The movement presumes that the Hawaiian Kingdom and its sovereignty were overthrown by the United States January 17th 1893, and therefore the movement is seeking to reclaim that sovereignty through de-colonization. The movement does not operate on the presumption of continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent state and the law of occupation, but rather on the aspiration of becoming an independent state or some form of internal self-determination within the laws of the United States.

Issues that Matter: Italian Universities invite Dr. Sai to present on Hawai‘i’s Occupation

Dr. Lynette Cruz, host of “Issues that Matter,” interviews Dr. Keanu Sai on recent trip to Italy. Dr. Sai was invited to participate in an academic conference in Ravenna, Italy, as well as guest lectures as the University of Siena Law School and at the University of Torino.

Smithsonian Exhibits Hawai‘i’s Occupation through the Matrix


The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APA) invited Dr. Keanu Sai, along with over forty artists and scholars, to participate in its initiative “A Cultural Lab on Imagined Futures.” APA’s initiative is a unique way to experience a museum. As an agency of the Smithsonian Institute, APA is “a migratory museum that brings Asian Pacific American history, art and culture to you through innovative museum experiences online and throughout the United States.” The traveling museums are called “Culture Labs.”

Imagined Futures will be held on Veterans Day weekend (November 12-13, 2016) at 477 Broadway, SOHO/Chinatown, New York City, from 11 am – 9 pm.

the_matrix_posterDr. Sai’s exhibit is the American occupation of Hawai‘i seen through the lens of the science fiction movie “The Matrix.” The science fiction thriller “depicts a dystopian future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality called ‘the Matrix,’ created by sentient machines to subdue the human population, while their bodies’ heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Computer programmer ‘Neo’ learns this truth and is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, which involves other people who have been freed from the ‘dream world.’”

The Matrix stars Keanu Reeves, as Neo, and the only way he could see the Matrix is to be unplugged by digesting a “red pill” offered to him by Morpheus, played by  Lawrence Fishburne.

CoverDr. Sai is a political scientist whose academic research has exposed the American occupation of the Hawaiian Islands that began with the United States’ unlawful overthrow of the Hawaiian government in 1893 followed by the military occupation during the Spanish-American War. The American occupation is a subject taught in classes at the high schools and collegiate levels in Hawai‘i and abroad. He is the author of Ua Mau Ke Ea (Sovereignty Endures), a history book used in classroom instruction.

Dr. Sai also represented the Hawaiian Kingdom as lead Agent in international arbitration proceedings—Lance Paul Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, held at the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The Larsen case was also cited by the Arbitral Tribunal in its judgment in the land mark South China Sea case, which was also held at the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Dr. Sai has been likened to the character Neo.

The Matrix star Keanu Reeves is a cousin of Dr. Sai. Keanu Reeves’ father and Dr. Sai’s mother are first cousins and both were named after Dr. Sai’s maternal grandfather, Henry Keanu Reeves. Both men are Hawaiian.

Dr. Sai’s Exhibit “Hawaiʻi Reloaded – The Matrix Alive!!”

What if the place you lived in and all that you knew to be “truth” was suddenly turned upside down and inside out? What if your understanding of who you are and your place in the world was flipped in an instance? What if you were living a lie and everyone you know were all a part of the lie unknowingly? All this sounds like the Warner Bros. Hollywood blockbuster film the “Matrix.”

Hawai‘i’s political and social history since 1893 is the “Matrix” and it’s called the 50th State of the United States of America. In the nineteenth century, Hawai‘i was known as the Hawaiian Kingdom that was internationally recognized as an independent country with over ninety embassies and consulates throughout the world, which included an embassy in Washington, D.C.  The “truth” is Hawai‘i was never a part of the United States, but rather has been under an illegal and prolonged occupation since the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Listen and experience the real history of Hawai‘i through the lens of the Matrix, and what is Hawai‘i’s future going forward.

What is truth, what is justice, what is reality? It’s time to get unplugged!

National Holiday: Restoration Day

Today is July 31st which is a national holiday in the Hawaiian Kingdom called “Restoration day,” and it is directly linked to another holiday observed on November 28th called “Independence day.” Here is a brief history of these two celebrated holidays.

Kam IIIIn the summer of 1842, Kamehameha III moved forward to secure the position of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a recognized independent state under international law. He sought the formal recognition of Hawaiian independence from the three naval powers of the world at the time—Great Britain, France, and the United States. To accomplish this, Kamehameha III commissioned three envoys, Timoteo Ha‘alilio, William Richards, who at the time was still an American Citizen, and Sir George Simpson, a British subject. Of all three powers, it was the British that had a legal claim over the Hawaiian Islands through cession by Kamehameha I, but for political reasons the British could not openly exert its claim over the other two naval powers. Due to the islands prime economic and strategic location in the middle of the north Pacific, the political interest of all three powers was to ensure that none would have a greater interest than the other. This caused Kamehameha III “considerable embarrassment in managing his foreign relations, and…awakened the very strong desire that his Kingdom shall be formally acknowledged by the civilized nations of the world as a sovereign and independent State.”

PauletWhile the envoys were on their diplomatic mission, a British Naval ship, HBMS Carysfort, under the command of Lord Paulet, entered Honolulu harbor on February 10, 1843, making outrageous demands on the Hawaiian government. Basing his actions on complaints made to him in letters from the British Consul, Richard Charlton, who was absent from the kingdom at the time, Paulet eventually seized control of the Hawaiian government on February 25, 1843, after threatening to level Honolulu with cannon fire. Kamehameha III was forced to surrender the kingdom, but did so under written protest and pending the outcome of the mission of his diplomats in Europe. News Admiral Thomasof Paulet’s action reached Admiral Richard Thomas of the British Admiralty, and he sailed from the Chilean port of Valparaiso and arrived in the islands on July 25, 1843. After a meeting with Kamehameha III, Admiral Thomas determined that Charlton’s complaints did not warrant a British takeover and ordered the restoration of the Hawaiian government, which took place in a grand ceremony on July 31, 1843. At a thanksgiving service after the ceremony, Kamehameha III proclaimed before a large crowd, ua mau ke ea o ka ‘aina i ka pono (the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness). The King’s statement became the national motto.

The envoys eventually succeeded in getting formal international recognition of the Hawaiian Islands “as a sovereign and independent State.” Great Britain and France formally recognized Hawaiian sovereignty on November 28, 1843 by joint proclamation at the Court of London, and the United States followed on July 6, 1844 by a letter of Secretary of State John C. Calhoun. The Hawaiian Islands became the first Polynesian nation to be recognized as an independent and sovereign State.

The ceremony that took place on July 31 occurred at a place we know today as “Thomas Square” park, which honors Admiral Thomas, and the roads that run along Thomas Square today are “Beretania,” which is Hawaiian for “Britain,” and “Victoria,” in honor of Queen Victoria who was the reigning British Monarch at the time the restoration of the government and recognition of Hawaiian independence took place.

From the Agent of the Hawaiian Kingdom: Setting the Record Straight on the Larsen Case

Hague 4_1_1My name is Dr. David Keanu Sai and from 1999-2001, I served as Agent for the Hawaiian Kingdom in international arbitration proceedings under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, Netherlands. The case was Lance Paul Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom (Larsen case). I was responsible for the drafting of the pleadings as well as communication with the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s (PCA) International Bureau-Secretariat, headed by a Secretary General, regarding the case. So I am very well acquainted with the case as well as what was going on behind the formalities of the case and the confines of the published Award in the International Law Reports, vol. 119, p. 566.

I am also a lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i with a M.A. and a Ph.D. in political science specializing in international relations and public law. My doctoral research and published law articles centers on the continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State under a prolonged occupation by the United States of America (United States) since the Spanish-American War.

After reviewing the two Awards by the Tribunal in the South China Sea case, I perused the Philippines’ Memorial and transcripts of the proceedings to find any reference to the Larsen case that was cited in Tribunal’s Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility (paragraph 181) as well as the Award on the Merits (paragraph 157, footnote 98). In the Memorial, which is called a pleading in international proceedings, the Philippines brought up the Larsen case in paragraphs 5.125 and 5.126. It was also mentioned by Professor Philippe Sands, QC, in his expert testimony to the Tribunal during a hearing on jurisdiction on July 8, 2015, and found on page 123 of the transcripts. On the Larsen case, the Philippine Memorial stated:

5.125 The Monetary Gold principle has also been followed once in arbitral proceedings. An arbitral tribunal applied it propio motu in Larsen v. the Hawaiian Kingdom. In that case, a resident of Hawaii sought redress from “the Hawaiian Kingdom” for its failure to protect him from the United States and the State of Hawaii. The parties, who had agreed to submit their dispute to arbitration by the PCA, hoped that the tribunal would address the question of the international legal status of Hawaii. Both parties initially argued that the Monetary Gold principle should be confined to ICJ proceedings. The tribunal rejected that argument, stating that international arbitral tribunals “operate[ ]within the general confines of public international law and, like the International Court, cannot exercise jurisdiction over a State which is not a party to its proceedings”.

5.126 The tribunal ultimately decided that it was precluded from addressing the merits because the United States, which was absent, was an indispensable party. Relying on Monetary Gold, the tribunal explained that the legal interests of the United States would form “the very subject-matter” of a decision on the merits because it could not rule on the lawfulness of the conduct of the respondent, the Kingdom of Hawaii, without necessarily evaluating the lawfulness of the conduct of the United States. It emphasized that “[t]he principle of consent in international law would be violated if this Tribunal were to make a decision at the core of which was a determination of the legality or illegality of the conduct of a non-party”.

There is much said in these two paragraphs that may escape the layman who may not be familiar with Hawai‘i’s legal history and its place in international law. By the Philippines own admission it recognized the existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a party to the arbitration, and without the participation of the United States, as an indispensable third party, the Philippines stated the Larsen Tribunal “could not rule on the lawfulness of the conduct of the respondent, the Kingdom of Hawaii.”

Here at the University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law, a few faculty members, namely Dr. Diane Desierto, Dr. David Cohen, and Carol Peterson, have gone so far as to call the Larsen case mere puffery. But can the Larsen case be an exaggeration of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s continued existence under international law and the role of the principle of indispensable third parties when it comes to the United States, as claimed by these faculty members who admitted, at a closed forum, they don’t know the legal history of Hawai‘i?


Obviously, the Philippine Government did not think so, and nor did the Tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration. As a landmark case in international arbitration, the South China Sea arbitration has drawn attention to the Larsen case again, which gives me an opportunity to set the record straight in light of the detractors, but also for those who are just curious.

In the Larsen case, the Hawaiian Kingdom, which I served as Agent along with others on my legal team, was a “Defendant,” which in international proceedings is also called a “Respondent.” This means that the Hawaiian Kingdom was defending itself from the allegations made by Larsen, as the “Plaintiff,” which is also called a “Claimant,” that the Council of Regency was allowing the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws in the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom, which led to his unfair trial and subsequent incarceration.

Hawaiian Government PCA

By going to Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom at the PCA’s case repository, it identifies me as the Agent for the Hawaiian Kingdom, identifies the Hawaiian Kingdom as a “State,” and under the heading of “case description,” it provides the dispute as follows:

“Dispute between Lance Paul Larsen (Claimant) and The Hawaiian Kingdom (Respondent) whereby

  • a) Lance Paul Larsen, a Hawaiian subject, alleges that the Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom is in continual violation of its 1849 Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation with the United States of America, and in violation of the principles of international law laid [down] in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969, by allowing the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws over claimant’s person within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
  • b) Lance Paul Larsen, a Hawaiian subject, alleges that the Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom is also in continual violation of the principles of international comity by allowing the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws over the claimant’s person within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom.”

The Philippines’ Memorial also cites an article by Bederman and Hilbert on the Larsen case that was originally published in the American Journal of International (vol. 95, p. 928), and republished the article in the Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics (vol. 1, p. 82) that the Philippines cited. According to Bederman and Hilbert, who succinctly stated the dispute, “At the center of the PCA proceeding was…that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist and that the Hawaiian Council of Regency (representing the Hawaiian Kingdom) is legally responsible under international law for the protection of Hawaiian subjects, including the claimant. In other words, the Hawaiian Kingdom was legally obligated to protect Larsen from the United States’ ‘unlawful imposition [over him] of [its] municipal laws’ through its political subdivision, the State of Hawaii. As a result of this responsibility, Larsen submitted, the Hawaiian Council of Regency should be liable for any international law violations that the United States committed against him.”

Clearly, the Larsen case was not about whether the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist, but was based on the presumption that it does exist, and, as such, a dispute arose between a Hawaiian national and the Hawaiian Government that stemmed from an illegal and prolonged occupation by the United States. My responsibility, as the Agent, was to defend the Hawaiian Government from Larsen’s allegation of allowing the imposition of American municipal laws in the Hawaiian Islands.

I was also keenly aware that before the PCA could establish the Arbitral Tribunal to preside over the dispute between Larsen and the Hawaiian Kingdom, it had to first confirm that the Hawaiian Kingdom as a “State” continues to exist in order for the PCA to exercise its “institutional jurisdiction” (United Nations Dispute Settlement, Permanent Court of Arbitration, p. 15) so that it could facilitate the creation of an ad hoc tribunal. By extension, the PCA also had to confirm that Larsen’s nationality was a Hawaiian subject, and the Council of Regency was the Hawaiian Government.

As an intergovernmental organization established under the 1899 Hague Convention, I, and the 1907 Hague Convention, I, the PCA facilitates the creation of ad hoc arbitral tribunals to settle disputes between two or more States, i.e., the Philippines v. China, or between a State and a private entity, i.e.Romak, S.A. v. Uzbekistan. Romak, S.A. is a Swiss company that specializes in the sale of grain and cereal products. In both cases, the States have to exist in fact and not in theory in order for the PCA to have institutional jurisdiction. Disputes must be “international” and not “municipal,” which are disputes that go before national courts of States and not international courts or tribunals.

Since the arbitration agreement between Larsen and the Hawaiian Government was submitted to the PCA on November 8, 1999, the PCA was doing their due diligence as to whether the Hawaiian Kingdom currently exists as a State under international law. If the Hawaiian Kingdom does not exist then this fact would negate the existence of the nationality of Larsen as a Hawaiian subject and the existence of the Council of Regency as the Hawaiian government, and, therefore, the dispute.

After its due diligence, however, the PCA could not deny that the Hawaiian Kingdom did exist as an independent State, and, along with other treaties, the Hawaiian Kingdom had a treaty with the Netherlands, which houses the PCA itself. However, what faced the PCA is that it could not find any evidence that the Hawaiian Kingdom had ceased to exist under international law. Only by way of a “treaty of cession,” whereby the Hawaiian Kingdom agreed to merge itself into the territory of the United States, could the Hawaiian Kingdom have been extinguished under international law.

There was never a treaty, except for American municipal laws, enacted by the United States Congress, that treat Hawai‘i as if it were annexed. Municipal laws are not international laws, as between States, but are laws that are limited in scope and authority to the territory of the State that enacted them. In other words, an American municipal law could no more annex the Hawaiian Kingdom, than it could annex the Netherlands.

My legal team and Larsen’s attorney knew this and operated on the “presumption” that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist until evidence shows otherwise. This was the van den Houtsame conclusion that the PCA came to, which prompted a telephone conversation I had with the PCA’s Secretary General, Tjaco T. van den Hout, in February 2000. In that telephone conversation, he recommended that the Hawaiian Government along with Larsen’s Counsel, Ms. Ninia Parks, provide a formal invitation to the United States Government to join in the arbitration. I recall his specific words to me on this matter. He said that in order to maintain the integrity of this case, he recommended that the Hawaiian Government, with the consent of Larsen’s legal representative, provide a formal invitation to the United States to join in the current arbitration. He then requested that I provide evidence that the invitation was made so that it can be made a part of the record for the case.

This invitation would elicit one of the three possible responses: first, the United States accepts the invitation, which recognizes the existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom and its government and will have to answer to its unlawful imposition of American municipal laws that led to Larsen’s unfair trial and incarceration; second, the United States denies the existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom because Hawai‘i is the so-called 50th State of the Federal Union and demands that the PCA cease and desist in entertaining the dispute; or, third, the United States denies the invitation to join in the arbitration but does not deny the existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the dispute between a Hawaiian national and the government representing the Hawaiian Kingdom.

On March 3, 2000, a conference call meeting was held with John Crook from the United States State Department in Washington, D.C., together with myself representing the Hawaiian Government and Ms. Parks representing Larsen. After the meeting, I drafted a letter to Crook that covered what was discussed in the meeting regarding the invitation and a carbon copy was sent to Secretary General van den Hout, as he requested, so that it could be placed on the record that an invitation was made. A few days later the United States Embassy in The Hague notified the PCA that they denied the invitation to join in the Phyllis_Hamiltonarbitration, but requested permission from the Hawaiian Government and Ms. Parks, on behalf of Larsen, to have access to all pleadings and transcripts of the case. Both Ms. Parks and I were individually contacted by telephone from the PCA’s Deputy Secretary General, Phyllis Hamilton, of the request made by the US Embassy, which we both consented to. It was also agreed that the records of the proceedings would be open to the public.

The United States took the third option and did not deny the existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Thereafter, the PCA began to form the Arbitral Tribunal the following month in April of 2000. Memorials were filed with the Tribunal by Larsen on May 22, 2000, and the Hawaiian Government on May 25, 2000. The Hawaiian Government then filed its Counter-Memorial on June 22, 2000, and Larsen its Counter-Memorial on June 23, 2000.

After the pleadings were submitted, the Tribunal issued Procedural Order no. 3 on July 17, 2000. In the Procedural Order, the Tribunal articulated the dispute from the pleadings in the following statement.

“As further defined in the pleadings of the parties, especially the Counter-Memorials, the plaintiff has requested the Tribunal to adjudge and declare (1) that his rights as a Hawaiian subject are being violated under international law as a result of the prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States of America”, and (2) that the plaintiff “does have redress against the Respondent Government” in relation to these violations (Plaintiff’s Counter-Memorial, para. 3). The defendant “agrees that it was the actions of the United States that violated Claimant’s rights, however denies that it failed to intervene” (Defendant’s Counter-Memorial, para. 2). Accordingly the parties agree on the first of the two issues identified by the Claimant as in dispute, but disagree on the second. The second issue only arises once it is established, or validly agreed, that the first issue is to be decided in the affirmative.”


The Tribunal further stated in the Procedural Order that it “is concerned whether the first issue does in fact raise a dispute between the parties, or, rather, a dispute between each of the parties and the United States over the treatment of the plaintiff by the United States. If it is the latter, that would appear to be a dispute which the Tribunal cannot determine, inter alia because the United States is not a party to the agreement to arbitrate.” The Tribunal, therefore, stated that it could not get to the merits of the case regarding “redress against the Respondent Government” as the second issue, until it address the first issue that Larsen’s “rights as a Hawaiian subject are being violated…by the United States of America.” This first issue that the Tribunal was asked to determine is what caused the Tribunal to raise the principle of an “indispensable third party” that stemmed from the Monetary Gold case. In other words, could the Tribunal proceed to rule on the lawfulness of the conduct of the Hawaiian Government when its judgment would imply an evaluation of the lawfulness of the conduct of the United States, which is not a party to the case.

The Tribunal scheduled oral hearings to be held at the PCA on December 7, 8 and 11, 2000.

A day before the oral hearings were to begin on December 7, the three arbitrators met with myself and legal team and Ms. Parks in the PCA to go over the schedule and what we can expect. What they also provided to us were booklets of the decisions by the International Court of Justice, namely the Monetary Gold Removed from Rome in 1943 (Italy v. the United Kingdom, France and the United States), Case Concerning Certain Phosphate Land in Nauru (Nauru v. Australia), and Case Concerning East Timor (Portugal v. Australia).

All three cases centered on the indispensable third party principle and that we should be prepared to respond as to how this case can proceed without the participation of the United States. In the Monetary Gold case it was on the non-participation of Albania; the Nauru Case was the non-participation of New Zealand and the United Kingdom; and the East Timor case was the non-participation of Indonesia. Of the three cases, only the Nauru case could proceed because the ICJ concluded that New Zealand and the United Kingdom were not indispensable third parties.

After two days of hearings, it was evident that the Tribunal would not be able to adjudge and declare, according to Procedural Order no. 3, that Larsen’s “rights as a Hawaiian subject are being violated…by the United States of America,” because the United States was not a party to the proceedings. Without a decision by the Tribunal that finds Larsen’s rights are being violated, he would be unable to get to the second issue of having the Tribunal declare and adjudge that he “does have ‘redress against the Respondent Government’ in relation to these violations.” In light of this, I knew that Larsen would not prevail in these proceedings without the participation of the United States. On the final day of the hearings, December 11, I decided to ask the Tribunal to make a determination on a topic that I felt would not violate the indispensable third party principle that was at the center of these proceedings.

The Hawaiian Government needed a pronouncement by the Tribunal as to the legal status of the Hawaiian Kingdom under international law that would deny the lawfulness of American municipal laws within Hawaiian territory. In other words, the Hawaiian Government needed a pronouncement of international law that could be cited as a bar to American municipal laws from being applied in Hawaiian territory. This fundamental bar of one State’s municipal laws to be applied within the territory of another State centers on the legal meaning of “independence.”

In international arbitration between the Netherlands and the United States at the PCA (Island of Palmas case), the arbitrator explained what the term independence means in Max_Huberinternational law. In the Award (p. 8), Judge Max Huber stated, “Sovereignty in the relations between States signifies independence. Independence in regard to a portion of the globe is the right to exercise therein, to the exclusion of any other State, the functions of a State. The development of the national organization of State during the last few centuries and, as a corollary, the development of international law, have established this principle of the exclusive competence of the State in regard to its own territory.”

Oppenheim, International Law, Vol. 1, p. 177-8 (2nd ed. 1912), explains: “Sovereignty as supreme authority, which is independent of any other earthly authority, may be said to have different aspects. As excluding dependence from any other authority, and in especial from the authority of the another State, sovereignty is independence. It is external independence with regard to the liberty of action outside its borders in the intercourse with other States which a State enjoys. It is internal independence with regard to the liberty of action of a State inside its borders. As comprising the power of a State to exercise supreme authority over all persons and things within its territory, sovereignty is territorial supremacy. As comprising the power of a State to exercise supreme authority over its citizens at home and abroad, sovereignty is personal supremacy. For these reasons a State as an International Person possesses independence and territorial and personal supremacy.”

With this in mind, I made the following statement and request to the Tribunal that is provided in the transcripts of the final day of the hearings on December 11.

“Really what needs to be addressed is what came before the occupation, whether the statehood or whether the legality or illegality of the Hawaiian Kingdom, not the illegality or legality of the United States as an occupier, but rather the Hawaiian Kingdom, has it met those particulars of international law that would warrant its continued existence, irrespective of any action taken by a third party upon that sovereignty. I believe that the principle of international law is really the equality of states and that, as the equality of states comes into being, I believe that the United States cannot be construed to have an equal right within another state’s territory, but rather they are equal within their own territorial jurisdictions which affords the international relations that come either through trade agreements or actually war – but at least the war is somehow regulated.”


The issue before the Tribunal was whether Larsen could hold to account the Hawaiian Government for allowing the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws within Hawaiian territory that led to his unfair trial and subsequent incarceration. My request of the Tribunal on the last day of the oral hearings was to have the Tribunal acknowledge and pronounce the legal status of Hawai‘i under international law as an “independent State,” which, as a co-equal, the United States could not impose its municipal laws within Hawaiian territory without violating international law.

My intent, was to move beyond the dispute with Larsen and address the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws across the entire territory of Hawai‘i and everyone affected by it, not just Larsen. I understood that my request of the Tribunal would not violate the indispensable third party principle, because for the Tribunal to make this pronouncement there would be no need to address the lawfulness or unlawfulness of the conduct of the United States, but merely to acknowledge historical facts.

My request of the Tribunal was similar to the Philippines request of the South China Sea Tribunal to determine whether or not the landmasses in the South China Sea are islands or rocks. The Philippines argued that since it is merely a determination of facts, the Tribunal would not be getting into the lawfulness or unlawfulness of the conduct of States regarding the sovereignty over these islands. The sovereign claims over these land masses would be whether the land masses are islands as defined under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that establish a maritime zone, or are they rocks that would not establish the maritime zones. According to Article 121(3) of the Convention, an island must “sustain human habitation or economic life of [its] own” in order to generate maritime zones, i.e., the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 200 miles from its coast. This is how the Philippines successfully argued why the principle of indispensable third parties would not apply.

On February 5, 2001, the Tribunal issued the Award on Jurisdiction, and concluded that the United States was an indispensable third party. In paragraph 12.5, the Tribunal explained, “It follows that the Tribunal cannot determine whether the [Hawaiian Kingdom] has failed to discharge its obligation towards [Lance Larsen] without ruling on the legality of the acts of the United States of America. Yet that is precisely what the Monetary Gold principle precludes the Tribunal from doing. As the International Court of Justice explained in the East Timor case, ‘the Court could not rule on the lawfulness of the conduct of a State when its judgment would imply an evaluation of the lawfulness of the conduct of another State which is not a party to the case.’”

The Tribunal, however, did answer my request, which is provided in paragraph 7.4 of the Award. The Tribunal stated, “A perusal of the material discloses that in the nineteenth century the Hawaiian Kingdom existed as an independent State recognised as such by the United States of America, the United Kingdom and various other States, including by exchanges of diplomatic or consular representatives and the conclusion of treaties.” By using the phrase, “a perusal of the material,” the Tribunal made it clear that its conclusion that the United States recognized the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State was drawn from the facts of the case.

By declaring that the United States recognized “the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State,” is another way of stating that the United States recognized that only Hawaiian laws could be applied in Hawaiian territory and not the municipal laws of the United States. Through these international proceedings, the Hawaiian Government was able to broaden the impact of an unlawful occupation beyond the Larsen case to now include all persons that have been victimized by the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws within the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

The Award of the South China Sea arbitration’s reference of the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom is recognition of the integrity of the Larsen case itself and why it is now a precedent case regarding the principle of indispensable third parties along with the Monetary Gold case and the East Timor case. It is also an acknowledgment of the caliber of those individuals who served as arbitrators, two of which are now serving as Judges on the International Court of Justice, namely Judge Christopher Greenwood and Judge James Crawford, who served as President of the Tribunal.

When I entered the University of Hawai‘i Political Science Department to get my M.A. and Ph.D. I also planned to address the misinformation regarding Hawai‘i as the 50th State of the American Union and the categorization of native Hawaiians as indigenous people as defined under United Nations documents. This is a false narrative that has already been rebuked by the mere fact of the Larsen case, which has now become a precedent case in international law. This information about the Hawaiian Kingdom has made people very uncomfortable, but that’s what happens when you’re faced with the truth.

South China Sea Tribunal References Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom

Permanent Court of Arbitration

The recent South China Sea arbitration, being a landmark case, has cited the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom case as one of the international precedents on “indispensable third parties” along with the Monetary Gold Removed from Rome in 1943 case and East Timor case in its Arbitral Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility (paragraph 181). This is a significant achievement for the Hawaiian Kingdom in international law.

On July 12, 2016, the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of the Philippines v. the People’s Republic of China), established under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), issued its decision in The Hague, Netherlands. The decision found that China’s claims over manmade islands in the South China Sea have no legal basis. Its decision was based on the definition of an “island” under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982) (Convention).

According to Article 121(3) of the Convention, an island must “sustain human habitation or economic life of [its] own” in order to generate maritime zones, i.e., the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 200 miles from its coast. Therefore, China’s creation of islands were never islands to begin with but rather reefs or rocks, which precluded China from claiming any maritime zones. For background of the dispute visit the New York Times “Philippines v. China, Q. and A. on South China Sea.”

At first glance, it would appear that China contested the jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal in a Position Paper it drafted on December 7, 2014, and on this basis refused to participate in the proceedings held at the PCA in The Hague, Netherlands. So how is it possible that the Arbitral Tribunal pronounces a ruling against China when it hasn’t participated in the arbitration?

The simple answer is that the Arbitral Tribunal could issue a ruling because China “did” participate in the proceedings and has consented to PCA’s authority to establish the Tribunal by virtue of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982). As noted in the PCA’s press release, the PCA currently has 12 other cases established under Annex VII of the Law of the Sea Convention. China is a State party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and arbitration is recognized as a means to settle disputes under Annex VII.

As a State party to the Convention, China consented to arbitration even if it chose not to participate, but it did signify its participation when it made its position public regarding the arbitration proceedings. According to the Arbitral Tribunal in its Arbitral Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility, it stated in paragraph 11, “the non-participation of China does not bar this Tribunal from proceeding with the arbitration. China is still a party to the arbitration, and pursuant to the terms of Article 296(1) of the Convention and Article 11 of the Annex VII, it shall be bound by any award the Tribunal issues.”

What is not commonly understood is that there are two matters of jurisdiction in cases that come before the PCA. The first is “institutional jurisdiction” of the PCA, and the second is “subject matter jurisdiction” of the Arbitral Tribunal over the particular dispute.

As an intergovernmental organization established under the 1899 Hague Convention, I, and the 1907 Hague Convention, I, the PCA facilitates the creation of ad hoc Arbitral Tribunals to settle disputes between two or more States (interstate), between a State and an international organization, between two or more international organizations, between a State and a private entity, or between an international organization and a private entity (United Nations Dispute Settlement, Permanent Court of Arbitration, p. 15). Disputes must be “international” and not “municipal,” which are disputes that go before national courts of States and not international courts or tribunals.

An explanation of the PCA’s institutional jurisdiction is also provided in the South China Sea case press release. On page 3 the press release the PCA states, “The Permanent Court of Arbitration is an intergovernmental organization established by the 1899 Hague Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes. The PCA has 121 Members States. Headquartered at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the Netherlands, the PCA facilitates arbitration, conciliation, fact-finding, and other dispute resolution proceedings among various combinations of States, State entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties.” China became a member State of the PCA on Nov. 21, 1904, and the Philippines on Sep. 12, 2010.

The “institutional jurisdiction” was satisfied by the PCA because both the Philippines and China are States, which makes it an interstate arbitration, and both are parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which under Annex VII provides for arbitration of disputes under the Convention. It was under this provision that the PCA could establish the Arbitral Tribunal.

The first matter that the Tribunal had to address was whether it had “subject matter jurisdiction” over the dispute, which it found that it did. In paragraph 146 of the Arbitral Award, the Tribunal stated, “China’s Position Paper was said by the Chinese Ambassador to have “comprehensively explain[ed] why the Arbitral Tribunal…manifestly has no jurisdiction over the case.” In its Procedural Order No. 4, para. 1.1 (21 April 2015), the Tribunal explained, “the communications by China, including notably its Position Paper of 7 December 2015 and the Letter of 6 February 2015 from the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Netherlands, effectively constitute a plea concerning this Arbitral Tribunal’s jurisdiction for the purposes of Article 20 of the Rules of Procedure and will be treated as such for the purposes of this arbitration.”

South China Seas Arbitral Proceedings

In this initial phase of jurisdiction, the Tribunal, however, also had to deal with the rule of “indispensable third parties” which applied to States that are not participating in the arbitration and whose rights could be affected by the Tribunal’s decision. These States were Viet Nam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. This rule would not apply to China since the Tribunal recognized China’s participation. Paragraph 157 of the Arbitral Award addressed the indispensable third-party rule, i.e. Viet Nam, which states, “The Tribunal noted that this arbitration differs from past cases in which a court or tribunal has found the involvement of a third party to be indispensable. The Tribunal recalled that ‘the determination of the nature of and entitlements generated by the maritime features in the South China Sea does not require a decision on issues of territorial sovereignty’ and held accordingly that ‘[t]he legal rights and obligation of Viet Nam therefore do not need to be determined as a prerequisite to the determination of the merits of the case.'”

In other words, the Tribunal was going to determine in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, whether or not the reefs and rocks in the South China Sea constitute the definition of islands as defined under the Convention, which would determine whether or not it had a territorial sea of 12 miles and an EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) of 200 miles. It would not be determining matters of sovereignty over the islands. If they weren’t islands, but rather reefs or rocks, then China’s claims to a territorial sea and an EEZ would become irrelevant. The Arbitral Award determined that they were not islands as defined under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Of importance in these proceedings is that the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom was specifically referenced in the Award on Jurisdiction in paragraph 181, which was also referenced in the Arbitral Award, paragraph 157, footnote 98. In the Award on Jurisdiction, the Tribunal stated, “The present situation is different from the few cases in which an international court or tribunal has declined to proceed due to the absence of an indispensable third-party, namely in Monetary Gold Removed from Rome in 1943 and East Timor before the International Court of Justice and in the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom arbitration. In all of those cases, the rights of the third States (respectively Albania, Indonesia, and the United States of America) would not have been affected by a decision in the case, but would have ‘form[ed] the very subject matter of the decision.’ Additionally, in those cases the lawfulness of activities by third States was in question, whereas here none of the Philippines’ claims entail allegations of unlawful conduct by Viet Nam or other third States.”

In the Larsen case, the PCA exercised its “institutional jurisdiction” when it convened the Arbitral Tribunal, because it recognized that the Hawaiian Kingdom is a “State” in a dispute with a Hawaiian subject who was a “private entity.” Like the South China Sea case, once the Tribunal was convened, it had to address whether or not it had subject matter jurisdiction over the dispute between Larsen and the Hawaiian Kingdom, because of the fact that the United States was not a party.

This dispute was specifically stated in the arbitration agreement that the PCA based its institutional jurisdiction. Paragraph 2.1 of the Arbitral Award states, “(a) Lance Paul Larsen, Hawaiian subject, alleges that the Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom is in continual violation of its 1849 Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation with the United States of America, and in violation of the principles of international law laid [down] in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969, by allowing the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws over claimant’s person within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom; (b) Lance Paul Larsen, a Hawaiian subject, alleges that the Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom is also in violation of the principles of international comity by allowing the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws over the claimant’s person within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom.”

What was at the center of the dispute was the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws within the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Tribunal was not established to determine whether or not the Hawaiian Kingdom exists as a “State,” which was already recognized by the PCA prior to establishing the Tribunal under its mandate of ensuring it had “institutional jurisdiction” in the first place.

According to the American Journal of International Law (vol. 95, p. 928), “At the center of the PCA proceeding was…that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist and that the Hawaiian Council of Regency (representing the Hawaiian Kingdom) is legally responsible under international law for the protection of Hawaiian subjects, including the claimant. In other words, the Hawaiian Kingdom was legally obligated to protect Larsen from the United States’ ‘unlawful imposition [over him] of [its] municipal laws’ through its political subdivision, the State of Hawaii. As a result of this responsibility, Larsen submitted, the Hawaiian Council of Regency should be liable for any international law violations that the United States committed against him.” If the Hawaiian Kingdom did not exist as a State, the PCA would not have established the Arbitral Tribunal to address the dispute.

In these proceedings, however, the Council of Regency was attempting to get the Tribunal to pronounce the existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom and even try to see if the Tribunal could issue some interim measures of protection. This was deliberately done to show that the Hawaiian Kingdom was taking affirmative steps, even during the proceedings, to do what it could in addressing the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws within Hawaiian territory, which led to Larsen’s unfair criminal trial and subsequent incarceration.

In the Arbitral Award, the Tribunal concluded that the United States was an indispensable third party. In paragraph 12.5, the Tribunal explained, “It follows that the Tribunal cannot determine whether the [Hawaiian Kingdom] has failed to discharge its obligation towards [Lance Larsen] without ruling on the legality of the acts of the United States of America. Yet that is precisely what the Monetary Gold principle precludes the Tribunal from doing. As the International Court of Justice explained in the East Timor case, ‘the Court could not rule on the lawfulness of the conduct of a State when its judgment would imply an evaluation of the lawfulness of the conduct of another State which is not a party to the case.'” It is clear that the Tribunal recognized the Hawaiian Kingdom as a “State” and the lawfulness of its conduct, and the United States as a “third State” and the lawfulness of its conduct.

Hawai‘i’s Queen and Courts of Competent Jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Islands

UPDATE: Dr. Sai providing expert testimony in State of Hawai‘i v. Kinimaka that the State of Hawai‘i criminal court lacks competent jurisdiction.

Queen Lili‘uokalani was very familiar with the constitutional order of the Hawaiian Kingdom. On April 10, 1877, Lili‘uokalani was appointed by King Kalakaua as his heir-apparent and confirmed by the Nobles of the Legislative Assembly. Article 22, 1864 Constitution, provides, that the heir-apparent shall be who “the Sovereign shall appoint with the consent of the Nobles, and publicly proclaim as such during the King’s life.”

When she was Princess and heir-apparent, she served as the executive monarch, in the capacity of Regent, for ten months Kalakauawhen King Kalakaua departed on his world tour on January 20, 1881. Article 33 provides, “It shall be lawful for the King at any time when he may be about to absent himself from the Kingdom, to appoint a Regent or Council of Regency, who shall administer the Government in His name.” She also served as Regent when Kalakaua departed for California on November 5, 1890. On January 20, 1891, Kalakaua died in San Francisco. Nine days later, Lili‘uokalani was pronounced Queen after Kalakaua’s body returned to Honolulu on January 29.

Under Hawaiian constitutional law, the office of executive monarch is both head of state and head of government, which is unlike the British monarch, who is the head of state, and the Prime Minister is the head of government. The Hawaiian executive monarch is similar to the United States presidency. As such, she would have been very familiar with the workings of government as well as its constitutional limitations. More importantly, she would have understood the limits of United States municipal laws that were unlawfully imposed in the Hawaiian Islands in 1900, and the effect it would have on the jurisdiction of American territorial courts.

Not surprisingly, this was reflected in her deed of trust dated December 2, 1909. She stated that, “Trustees shall make an annual report to the Grantor during her lifetime, and after her death to a court of competent jurisdiction.” She further stated that, “a new trustee or trustees shall be appointed by the judge of a court of competent jurisdiction.” A court of competent jurisdiction is a court that has the legal authority to do a particular act.

Her explicit use of the term “court of competent jurisdiction” is very telling, especially when other Ali‘i trusts established under the constitutional order of the Hawaiian Kingdom, namely the Lunalilo Trust in 1874 and the Pauahi Bishop Trust in 1884, which the Queen was well aware of, specifically provided that annual reports must be given to the Supreme Court of the Hawaiian Kingdom for administrative oversight, and that the Hawaiian Supreme Court was vested with the authority to appoint the trustees.

The Queen did not state the “Supreme Court of the Territory of Hawai‘i” in her deed of trust, but rather “a court of competent jurisdiction.” These provisions in her deed of trust also imply that there are courts in Hawai‘i that are without competent jurisdiction, which were the courts of the American Territory of Hawai‘i that existed at the time she drew up her deed of trust in 1909.

The courts of the Territory of Hawai‘i derived their authority under the 1900 Act to provide a government for the Territory of Hawaii. The predecessor of the Territory of Hawai‘i was the Republic of Hawai‘i, which the United States Congress in its 1993 Joint Resolution—To acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the January 17, 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and to offer an apology to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii concluded was “self-declared.” The Republic of Hawai‘i’s predecessor was the provisional government, whom President Grover Cleveland reported to the Congress on December 18, 1893, as being “neither de facto nor de jure,” but self-declared as well. Furthermore, Queen Lili‘uokalani, in her June 20, 1894 protest to the United States referred to the provisional government as a “pretended government of the Hawaiian Islands under whatever name,” that enacted and enforced “pretended ‘laws’ subversive of the first principles of free government and utterly at variance with the traditions, history, habits, and wishes of the Hawaiian people.”

As the successor to the Territory of Hawai‘i, the courts of the State of Hawai‘i derive their authority from an Act to provide for the admission of the State of Hawaii into the Union. Both the 1900 Territorial Act and the 1959 Statehood Act are municipal laws of the United States, which is defined as pertaining “solely to the citizens and inhabitants of a state, and is thus distinguished from…international law (Black’s Law, 6th ed., p. 1018).” In order for these laws to be applied over the Hawaiian Islands, international law, which are “laws governing the legal relations between nations (Black’s Law, 6th ed., p. 816),” requires the cession of Hawaiian territory to the United States by a treaty prior to the enactment of these municipal laws. Without a treaty of cession, the Hawaiian Islands remain outside of United States territory, and therefore beyond the reach of United States municipal laws.

Oppenheim, International Law, vol. I, 285 (2nd ed.), explains that, cession of “State territory is the transfer of sovereignty over State territory by the owner State to another State.” He further states that the “only form in which a cession can be effected is an agreement embodied in a treaty between the ceding and the acquiring State (p. 286).” There exists no treaty of cession where the United States acquired the territory of the Hawaiian Islands under international law. Instead, the United States claims to have acquired the Hawaiian Islands in 1898 by a Joint Resolution—To provide for annexing the Hawaiian Islands to the United States. Like the 1900 Territorial Act and the 1959 Statehood Act, the 1898 Joint Resolution of Annexation is a municipal law of the United States, which has no effect beyond the territorial borders of the United States.

In 1936, the United States Supreme Court, in United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., 299 U.S. 304, 318, stated, “Neither the Constitution nor the laws passed in pursuance of it have any force in foreign territory.” The following year, the Supreme Court, in United States v. Belmont, 301 U.S. 324, 332 (1937), again reiterated that the United States “Constitution, laws and policies have no extraterritorial operation unless in respect of our own citizens.” These two cases merely reiterated what the Supreme Court, in The Apollon, 22 U.S. 362, 370, stated in 1824 when the Court addressed whether or not a municipal law of the United States could be applied over a French ship—The Apollon, in waters outside of U.S. territory. In that case, the Supreme Court stated, “The laws of no nation can justly extend beyond its own territories except so far as regards its own citizens.”

Although the 1898 Joint Resolution of Annexation has conclusive phraseology that makes it appear that the Hawaiian Islands were indeed annexed, the act of annexation, which is the acquisition of territory from a foreign state, could not have been accomplished because it is still a municipal law of the United States that has no extraterritorial effect. In other words, a treaty is a bilateral instrument, whereby one state cedes territory to another state, thus consummating annexation in the receiving State, but the 1898 Joint Resolution of Annexation is a unilateral act that is claiming annexation occurred without a cession evidenced by a treaty.

As a replacement for a treaty that signifies consent by the ceding State, the resolution instead provides the following phrase: “Whereas the Government of the Republic of Hawaii having, in due form, signified its consent, in the manner provided by its constitution, to cede absolutely and without reserve to the United States of America all rights of sovereignty of whatsoever kind in and over the Hawaiian Islands and their dependencies.” In The Apollon, the Supreme Court also addressed phraseology in United States municipal laws, which is quite appropriate and instructive in the Hawaiian situation. The Supreme Court stated, “however general and comprehensive the phrases used in our municipal laws may be, they must always be restricted in construction to places and persons, upon whom the legislature has authority and jurisdiction (p. 370).”

It would be ninety years later, in 1988, when the United States Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel, would stumble over this American dilemma in a memorandum opinion written for the Legal Advisor for the Department of State regarding legal issues raised by the proposed Presidential proclamation to extend the territorial sea from a three mile limit to twelve. After concluding that only the President and not the Congress possesses “the constitutional authority to assert either sovereignty over an extended territorial sea or jurisdiction over it under international law on behalf of the United States (p. 242),” the Office of Legal Counsel also concluded that it was “unclear which constitutional power Congress exercised when it acquired Hawaii by joint resolution. Accordingly, it is doubtful that the acquisition of Hawaii can serve as an appropriate precedent for a congressional assertion of sovereignty over an extended territorial sea (p. 262).”

The opinion cited United States constitutional scholar Westel Woodbury Willoughby, The Constitutional Law of the United States, vol. 1, §239, 427 (2d ed.), who wrote in 1929, “The constitutionality of the annexation of Hawaii, by a simple legislative act, was strenuously contested at the time both in Congress and by the press. The right to annex by treaty was not denied, but it was denied that this might be done by a simple legislative act. …Only by means of treaties, it was asserted, can the relations between States be governed, for a legislative act is necessarily without extraterritorial force—confined in its operation to the territory of the State by whose legislature enacted it.” Nine years earlier in 1910, Willoughby, The Constitutional Law of the United States, vol. 1, §154, 345, wrote, “The incorporation of one sovereign State, such as was Hawaii prior to annexation, in the territory of another, is…essentially a matter falling within the domain of international relations, and, therefore, beyond the reach of legislative acts.”

Since January 17, 1893, there have been no courts of competent jurisdiction in the Hawaiian Islands. Instead,  genocide has taken place through denationalization whereby the national pattern of the United States has been unlawfully imposed in the territory of an occupied sovereign State in violation of international humanitarian law.


On April 29, 2016, Dr. Keanu Sai served as an expert witness for the defense represented by Dexter Kaiama, Esquire, during an evidentiary hearing in criminal case State of Hawai‘i v. Kinimaka. Kaiama filed a motion to dismiss the criminal complaint on the grounds that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because the court derives its authority from the 1959 Statehood Act, which is a municipal law enacted by the United States Congress that has no effect beyond the borders of the United States.

In response to the Court denying the motion to dismiss in light of the fact that the prosecution did not refute any of the evidence provided in the evidentiary hearing, Kaiama is preparing to file a motion for interlocutory appeal to the Intermediate Court of Appeals. Because the prosecution did not provide any rebuttable evidence against the evidence presented by the defense that provided a legal and factual basis for concluding that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as an independent and sovereign State that has been under an illegal and prolonged occupation, the trial Court should have dismissed the case. If there was to be any appeal it would be the prosecution and not the defense. Denying a person of a fair and regular trial is a war crime under Article 147, 1949 Geneva Convention, IV.