Jurisdiction of ICC over Hawaiian Territory begins March 4, 2013


When the Hawaiian Kingdom deposited its Instrument of Accession with the United Nations Secretary-General on December 10, 2012 in New York City, the International Criminal Court (ICC) will possess jurisdiction over Hawaiian territory beginning on March 4, 2013. According to Article 126 of the Rome Statute, the ICC will have jurisdiction “on the first day of the month after the 60th day following the date of the deposit of the…instrument of…accession.”

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The ICC prosecutes individuals and not states for war crimes committed within occupied territories. Only states can accede to the jurisdiction of the ICC, and that Hawai‘i achieved the international recognition of its statehood on November 28, 1843 by joint proclamation of Great Britain and France and entered into extensive diplomatic relations and treaties with other states.

The justification for the accession was based on two points: first, the acting government is not able to enforce and prosecute individuals for violating Hawaiian law and the law of occupation taking place within Hawaiian territory; and second, the U.S. Pacific Command has refused to hold to account individuals for committing war crimes that have been reported since July 6, 2012.

UPDATE: According to the Rome Statute, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) jurisdiction is limited to events taking place since July 1, 2002, which is the date the ICC came into existence. Since the Hawaiian Kingdom acceded to the ICC’s Rome Statute on December 10, 2012, the Rome Statute provides that jurisdiction for the ICC will begin on March 4, 2012. The Hawaiian Kingdom, however, can accept the jurisdiction of the ICC for the period before March 4, 2012, which will include events that have transpired since July 1, 2002. At this time, the Hawaiian Kingdom has not done so, but does reserve that right.

Hawaiian Kingdom Accedes to the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court

ICCThis afternoon the Ambassador-at-large and Agent for the acting government of the Hawaiian Kingdom, H.E. David Keanu Sai, Ph.D., filed with the United Nations Secretary General in New York an instrument of accession acceding to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, Netherlands. The ICC is a permanent and independent tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, that prosecutes individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The ICC only prosecutes individuals and not States.

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The instrument of accession was deposited with the United Nations Secretary-General in accordance with Article 125(3) of the ICC Rome Statute, which provides, “This Statute shall be open to accession by all States. Instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.” By acceding to the ICC Rome Statute, the Hawaiian Kingdom, as a State, accepted the exercise of the ICC’s jurisdiction over war crimes committed within its territory by its own nationals as well as war crimes committed by nationals of States that are not State Parties to the ICC Rome Statute, such as the United States of America. According to Article 13 of the ICC Rome Statute, the Court may exercise its jurisdiction if a situation is referred to the ICC’s Prosecutor by the Hawaiian Kingdom who is now a State Party by accession.

The current situation in the Hawaiian Islands arises out of the prolonged and illegal occupation of the entire territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States of America since the Spanish-American War on August 12, 1898, and the failure on the part of the United States of America to establish a direct system of administering the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The United States disguised its occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom as if a treaty of cession annexed the Hawaiian Islands. There is no treaty.

Individuals of the State of Hawai‘i government who committed war crimes have already been reported to the United States Pacific Command and the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland, for deliberately denying a fair and regular trial to Defendants, irrespective of nationality, and with the Hawaiian Kingdom’s accession to the jurisdiction of the ICC, these alleged war criminals will now come under the prosecutorial authority of the Prosecutor of the ICC.

Regarding the occupation of Hawaiian territory, the ICC is authorized under the Rome Statute to prosecute individuals for committing the following war crimes during an occupation:

  • destruction and appropriation of property;
  • denying a fair trial;
  • unlawful deportation and transfer of persons to another State;
  • unlawful confinement;
  • the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies;
  • destroying protected objects dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historic monuments;
  • destroying or seizing the property of the Occupied State;
  • compelling participation in military operations;
  • outrages upon personal dignity;
  • displacing civilians.