Council Member Jenn Ruggles Puts Queen’s Hospital on Notice for Committing War Crimes Against Native Hawaiians

Council member Jen Ruggles released a letter she sent last week notifying Queen’s Health Systems of the illegal and prolonged occupation of Hawai’i and how it appears it may be violating the rights of protected persons in Hawai’i. She stated that she, as an agent for the United States, which is an occupying Power, and one who took an oath to support the constitution of the United States, is bound to uphold the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, and the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV, and ensure respect for the conventions in all circumstances.

In her letter Council member Ruggles referenced a February 25, 2018 communication from United Nations Independent Expert, Dr. Alfred M. deZayas, to the State of Hawai‘i judges in which he stated:

“I have come to understand that the lawful political status of the Hawaiian Islands is that of a sovereign nation-state in continuity; but a nation-state that is under a strange form of occupation by the United States resulting from an illegal military occupation and a fraudulent annexation. As such, international laws (the Hague and Geneva Conventions) require that governance and legal matters within the occupied territory of the Hawaiian Islands must be administered by the application of the laws of the occupied state (in this case, the Hawaiian Kingdom), not the domestic laws of the occupier (the United States).”

The U.S. Senate ratified the Hague and Geneva Conventions making both of these treaties part of federal law under Article VI of the federal constitution and which must be faithfully carried out in territory that the United States is occupying. As a whistle blower, Council member Ruggles sees it as her duty to hold individuals and other officials of the State of Hawai‘i and the United States government accountable for violations of the provisions of the Hague and Geneva Conventions and the rights of civilians within the occupied territory under the title of protected persons.

Council member Ruggles came to learn that the Queen’s Hospital was formed as a corporation on June 20, 1859. Article One of the Hospital’s Charter provides for the establishment of a permanent hospital for the “treatment of indigent sick and disabled Hawaiians, as well as such foreigners and others who may choose to avail themselves of the same.” It was understood, at the time, that the term ‘Hawaiians’ meant aboriginal Hawaiians, both pure and part. Under the Charter, the Hawaiian Monarch served as President of a Board of Trustees comprised of ten persons to be appointed by the government and ten persons to be elected by corporation shareholders.

The government appropriated funding for the maintenance of the hospital.

In 1900, George W. Smith, a Trustee of Queen’s Hospital, stated in an article published by the Pacific Commercial Advertiser that “Queen’s Hospital is, from the nature of its charter, a quasi-private institution. When it was chartered it was provided that all Hawaiians of native birth, should be treated free of charge. Foreigners were to be treated by payment of fees.”

No other country or government in the world at the time is known by her to have had such a system of government subsidized health care for a majority of its national population which was free of charge. The Soviet government followed this practice in 1920, but that was due to the political theory of communism. After the Second World War, in 1948, the British government followed suit, which, like the Hawaiian Kingdom, was not a communist State. The Nordic countries followed with Sweden in 1955, Iceland in 1956, Norway in 1956, Denmark in 1961, and Finland in 1964. The United States has never subsidized health care free of charge.

After pressure to sever the Hawaiian government’s interest in Queen’s Hospital and to no longer admit native Hawaiians free of charge, the Board of Trustees, with the approval of Territorial Governor, Walter F. Frear, amended the Charter. In 1909, the phrase in the original 1859 Charter “for the treatment of indigent sick and disabled Hawaiians” was replaced with “for the treatment of sick and disabled persons.” The change was made secretively. The only news coverage it received at the time was in one newspaper, the Evening Bulletin, which made no mention of the change of servicing aboriginal Hawaiians free of charge. Under the title of “IS APPROVED TRUSTEES REDUCED,” the Bulletin wrote,

“By the new amendment to their character, the application for which was approved by Governor Frear this morning, the number of trustees of Queen’s Hospital will be reduced from twenty to seven members. The responsibility of the government trusteeship will also cease with the new articles of incorporation.”

By 1939, Victor Stewart Kaleoaloha Houston, a former Congressional delegate for the Territory of Hawai‘i, “was presenting lectures at various Hawaiian Civic Clubs castigating Queen’s Hospital for ignoring Native Hawaiians’ medical needs and reneging on the promises of the original charter. In newspapers the main themes of Houston’s one man challenge to Queen’s practices was set out for the public by these questions: What ever happened to free medical care for Hawaiians and what is Queen’s doing with the Queen Emma Trust monies?”

Gradually aboriginal Hawaiians were denied health care unless they paid, and as time went on, this provision of the Queen’s Hospital charter was nearly forgotten. In 1967, the name of Queen’s Hospital was changed to the Queen’s Medical Center. In 1985, the Queen’s Health Systems with a Board of Trustees was established as the parent company of Queen’s Medical Center along with Molokai General Hospital, North Hawai‘i Community Hospital, Queen Emma Land Company, Queen’s Development Corporation, and Queen’s Insurance Exchange.  Under Queen’s Health Systems there are four hospitals—The Queen’s Medical Center, The Queen’s Medical Center – West O‘ahu, Molokai General Hospital, and North Hawai‘i Community Hospital—and  seven health care centers in Hawai‘i Kai, Hilo, two in Honolulu, Kapolei, Kaua‘i and Kona. I will refer to the corporation by its original name, the Queen’s Hospital.

Hawaiian subjects of aboriginal blood, both pure and part, are protected persons whose rights during the U.S. occupation are protected under the Geneva Convention. Council member Ruggles sees that it is also her duty as a whistle blower and agent for the United States to ensure that their rights are respected and enforced. According to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, “Today, Native Hawaiians are perhaps the single racial group with the highest health risk in the State of Hawai‘i. This risk stems from high economic and cultural stress, lifestyle and risk behaviors, and late or lack of access to health care.” The ‘lack of access to health care’ is what troubles Council member Ruggles knowing that the Queen’s Hospital was specifically established, under Hawaiian Kingdom law, to provide for their health care, free of charge.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross Commentaries, Article 47 of the Geneva Convention means that “changes made in the internal organization of the State must not lead to protected persons being deprived of the rights and safeguards provided them. Consequently it must be possible for the Convention to be applied to them in its entirety, even if the Occupying Power has introduced changes in the institutions or government of the occupied territory.” Furthermore, under the provisions of Article 50 of the GCIV regarding preferential measures for children’s medical care, in this case with the Queen’s Hospital, the occupying State “who occupied the whole or part of a territory where such measures are in force, cannot on any pretext abrogate them or place obstacles in the way of their application. This rule applies not only to preferential measures prescribed in the Convention but to any other measures of the same nature taken by the occupied State.”

Council member Ruggles stated that the changes to the charter since 1909 violate the Hague and Geneva Conventions. In light of these violations, she called upon the Chief Executive Office of the Queen’s Health System, Mr. Art Ushijima, and the “Board of Trustees to comply with the 1859 Charter and to admit aboriginal Hawaiians, as that term was understood under Kingdom law, for medical care free of charge. Failure to do so [would] appear to constitute to constitute war crimes under Article 47 and 50 of the [Geneva Convention, IV].”

Council member Ruggles alerted Mr. Ushijima to the fact that there “seems to be a direct nexus of deaths of aboriginal Hawaiians as ‘the single racial group with the highest health risk in the State of Hawai‘i [that] stems from…late or lack of access to health care’ to the crime of genocide as defined by the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The Genocide Convention was also ratified by the United States Senate, and, like the Hague and Geneva Conventions, are a part of United States federal law.


Big Island Video News (BIVN): Jen Ruggles Holds Community Meeting On War Crimes

KEA‘AU, Hawaiʻi – Hawaii County Councilmember Jen Ruggles explained her decision to stop legislating in a packed town hall on Monday night.

(BIVN)– A community meeting organized by Puna councilwoman Jen Ruggles to explain her ongoing absence from council drew a standing room-only crowd to the Keaʻau Community Center on Monday night.

Ruggles declared on August 21 “that she had come to understand that she may be in violation of her oath of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution and may be incurring criminal liability under both U.S. federal law and international law,” a media release stated. “Through her attorney, Stephen Laudig, she formally requested the County Office of Corporation Counsel provide her a proper legal opinion.”

Laudig was present at the meeting, as was Dr. David Keanu Sai, a scholar and expert in international law. Sai has also served as the lead agent for the Hawaiian Kingdom in international arbitration proceedings before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, Netherlands.

Using a power point presentation projected onto the community center wall, Ruggles walked constituents through her understanding of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a state in continuity that is under a “strange form of occupation” by the United States. Ruggles shared letters she received that prompted her to make her decision, and took questions from the audience.

In an earlier media release, Ruggles said she intended “to educate her constituents on their rights as protected persons under U.S. and international law, and share what work she has started to continue to represent and advocate on behalf of her district.”


Queen’s Hospital First Hawaiian Health Institution to Fall Victim to the Unlawful Occupation

The article below was printed on page 14 of The Pacific Commercial Advertiser on July 31, 1901 in Honolulu. It is a window into a time of colliding legal systems and the Queen’s Hospital would soon become the first Hawaiian health institution to fall victim to the unlawful imposition of American laws. Queen’s Hospital was established as the national hospital for the Hawaiian Kingdom and that health care services for Hawaiian subjects of aboriginal blood was at no charge. The Hawaiian head of state would serve as the ex officio President of the Board together with twenty trustees, ten of whom were from the Hawaiian government.

Since the hospital’s establishment in 1859 the legislature of the Hawaiian Kingdom subsidized the hospital along with monies from the Queen Emma Trust. With the unlawful imposition of the 1900 Organic Act that formed the Territory of Hawai‘i, American law did not allow public monies to be used for the benefit of a particular race. 1909 was the last year Queen’s Hospital received public funding and it was also the same year that the charter was unlawfully amended to replace the Hawaiian head of state with an elected president from the private sector and reduced the number of trustees from twenty to seven, which did not include government officers.

These changes to a Hawaiian quasi-public institution is a direct violation of the laws of occupation, whereby the United States was and continues to be obligated to administer the laws of the occupied State—the Hawaiian Kingdom. This requirement comes under Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, and Article 64 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV.

Article 55 of the Hague Convention provides, “The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the [occupied] State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.” The term “usufruct” is to administer the property or institution of another without impairing or damaging it.

Despite these unlawful changes, aboriginal Hawaiian subjects, whether pure or part, are to receive health care at Queen’s Hospital free of charge. This did not change, but through denationalization there was an attempt to erase. Aboriginal Hawaiian subjects are protected persons as defined under international law, and as such, the prevention of health care by Queen’s Hospital constitutes war crimes.



Queen’s Hospital Appropriation Peculiar.


Collision Between the Charter and the Bill Making the Grant for Period.

The Board of Health has a very delicate question to consider at its meeting this afternoon—one which places the Queen’s Hospital in a very queer situation.

The Legislature at its last session made an appropriation for the Queen’s Hospital of $40,000, to be used in the next biennial period. This was in line with the previous policy of the Government in making appropriation for the hospital, similar appropriations being made at the same time to other like institutions. There was, however, one very peculiar incident in connection with the appropriation made for the Queen’s Hospital. In the past the sum of $20,000 had always been given to the hospital for the biennial period, and Governor Dole recommended that the Legislature make the usual appropriation. Instead that body appropriated just double the amount asked, or $40,000.

Attached to the bill, however, was a rider providing that no distinction should be made as to race in the care of patients at the hospital. The appropriation was also placed in the hands of the Board of Health for proper payment and the Board now finds itself in a rather peculiar predicament.

The Queen’s Hospital was founded in 1859 by their Majesties Kamehameha IV and his consort Emma Kaleleonalani. The hospital is organized as a corporation and by the terms of its charter the board of trustees is composed ten members elected by the society and ten members nominated by the Government, of which the President of the Republic (now Governor of the Territory) shall be the presiding officer. The charter also provides for the “establishing and putting in operation a permanent hospital in Honolulu, with a dispensary and all necessary furniture and appurtenances for the reception, accommodation and treatment of indigent sick and disabled Hawaiians, as well as such foreigners and other who may choose to avail themselves of the same.”

Under this construction all native Hawaiians have been cared for without charge, while for others a charge has been made of from $1 to $3 per day. The bill making the appropriation for the hospital by the Government provides that no distinction shall be made as to race; and the Queen’s Hospital trustees are evidently up against a serious proposition.

Under the provisions of the Organic Act the Legislature has no power to give a subsidy to any institution and, under the construction likely to be placed by the Board of Health of the intentions of the Legislature, the Queen’s Hospital must be placed under the control of the Government before it may receive the appropriation of $40,000.

“I can see no way out of the difficulty at present,” said Secretary [George W.] Smith of the board of trustees for the Queen’s Hospital when his attention was called to the matter yesterday afternoon. “The hospital has been receiving regular stipulated amounts from the Government, generally $20,000 for each biennial period. This year when the Governor asked for a statement of the condition of the hospital’s finances it was handed to him, and he recommended that the Legislature make the usual allowance. I do not know they gave us $40,000 instead of the usual amount. There was a rider placed on the bill, however, to the effect that no distinction should be made as to race. The appropriation was also placed in the hands of the Board of Health. Formerly it was the custom for this money to be placed into the hands of the Minister of Finance and by him paid over quarterly directly to our treasurer. Why the change was made at this time I do not understand.”

“I do not see myself how the hospital could be placed in the hands of the Government, even if we wished to do so. The Government now has ten members upon the Board and also the presiding officer. Under our charter we are compelled to treat native Hawaiians free of charge, and I do not see how it can be changed. Then again we have in our hands $36,000 in trust funds which cannot very well be given over to the Government except in violation of the terms of the trust. Taken all around it is a very delicate question, and it is to be hoped that it may be settled without the loss of appropriation to the hospital. The hospital now treats free all soldiers and sailors and also the members of the police force.”

The matter will be discussed at this afternoon’s meeting of the Board of Health, though it is hardly likely that the matter can be definitely settled at this time. A joint meeting of the Board of Health and the trustees of the Queen’s Hospital will probably be held, at which the matter will be talked over before final action is taken.



Big Island Video News (BIVN): Hawaiian Kingdom Supporters Tell Council “Cease & Desist”

HILO, Hawaii – There was a wave of support on Wednesday for Puna councilwoman Jen Ruggles and her decision to refrain from legislating until county lawyers can provide a proper legal opinion.

(BIVN)– In lengthy public testimony before the Hawaii County Council meeting got underway in Hilo on Wednesday, Hawaiian Kingdom supporters spoke out in support of absent councilwoman Jen Ruggles, and demanded the council “cease and desist” legislative activity.

Ruggles’ seat was empty as the councilmember from Puna announced she would “refrain from legislating” until the county’s corporation counsel can provide a “proper legal opinion” that will assure her that she “is not incurring criminal liability under international humanitarian law and U.S. law.”

Ruggles’ recent decision was not on the Wednesday’s council agenda for discussion, so testifiers seeking to support Ruggles’ position spoke on other matters, such as Bill 160 – a measure that amends the County Code of Ethics by requiring that officials “provide accurate and factual information to the public” to the best of their knowledge.

Public testifiers – both Hawaiian Kingdom subjects as well as American citizens – identified themselves as protected persons as defined under Article 4 of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention. Many read from similarly worded written testimony.

“I too have come to learn that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as an independent and sovereign State that has been under an illegal and prolonged occupation by the United States since January 17, 1893,” stated Kale Gumapac, who testified in Hilo. “I am also aware that the United Nations Independent Expert Dr. Alfred deZayas sent a memorandum to members of the State of Hawai‘i judiciary which stated ‘international laws (the Hague and Geneva Conventions) require that governance and legal matters within the occupied territory of the Hawaiian Islands must be administered by the application of the laws of the occupied state (in this case, the Hawaiian Kingdom), not the domestic laws of the occupier (the United States).’ And according to Amnesty International, war crimes are crimes that violate the laws or customs of war defined by the Hague and Geneva Conventions.”

“Article 43 of the Hague Regulations and Article 64 of the Fourth Geneva Convention obligates the United States to administer Hawaiian Kingdom law, not United States law,” Gumapac continued. “This deliberate in failure by the United States to administer Hawaiian kingdom law has led to grave breaches under Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law. which constitutes war crimes committed against me as a protected person.”

Gumapac finished with a statement that was often repeated by others speakers on Wednesday. “This body illegally enacts United States laws in violation of the Hague and Geneva Conventions and as a victim of war crimes that stem from this unlawful legislation, I demand that this body immediately cease and desist,” Gumapac said.

Multiple testifiers spoke for roughly two hours before the Hawaii County Council closed public comment and went ahead with the scheduled agenda.


UPDATE Emergency Petition for Writ of Mandamus – U.S. Attorney Will Seek 30 day Extension

On August 29, 2018, Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia Rhonda L. Campbell sent a communication to Dr. David Keanu Sai, Chairman of the Council of Regency and Petitioner for an extension to respond to the Emergency Petition for Writ of Mandamus filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

“Sir:  I will be requesting a 30-day extension of time, to and through, October  10, 2018, to Answer or otherwise respond to your complaint.  Please inform me of your position.  Thank you.”

Dr. Sai responded later that day:

“Ma’am: Notwithstanding the emergency nature of the petition for writ of mandamus, I am agreeable to your request.”