HAWAIIAN KINGDOM – After returning from oral hearings held at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, Netherlands, where the Council of Regency represented the Hawaiian Kingdom in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom in December of 2000, the Council of Regency focused its attention on the effects of denationalization—Americanization where the national consciousness of the Hawaiian Kingdom was obliterated.
Denationalization was formally initiated in 1906 by the Board of Education and carried into effect within the public and private schools throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Within three generations, Hawaiian Kingdom national consciousness had been effectively replaced with American national consciousness and the national language of Hawaiian replaced with English. As part of this inculcation, young students were led to falsely believe that the Hawaiian Islands had become a part of the United States, and they were now American citizens.
According to Professor William Schabas, recognized expert in international criminal law, who provided a legal opinion for the Royal Commission of Inquiry, denationalization, among other international crimes committed in the Hawaiian Islands, is a war crime under customary international law. War crimes have no statutes of limitations and criminal culpability will last up to 80 years after the war crime was committed.
The Royal Commission was established, by proclamation of the Council of Regency, on April 17, 2019. Its mandate is to investigate war crimes and human rights violations committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom since the unlawful overthrow of the Hawaiian government in 1893, and the subsequent belligerent occupation by the United States ever since.
The lawful authority of the Council of Regency has also been the subject of a recent legal opinion by Professor Federico Lenzerini, a professor of international law from the University of Siena, Italy. The American treatise, Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States,, §103(2)(c), recognizes that “writings of scholars” are a source of international law in determining, in this case, whether the Council of Regency has been established in conformity with the rules of international humanitarian law. In his opinion, Professor Lenzerini concluded that:
1. the Council of Regency possesses the constitutional authority to temporarily exercise the Royal powers of the Hawaiian Kingdom;
2. the Council of Regency has the authority to represent the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State, which has been under a belligerent occupation by the United States of America since 17 January 1893, both at the domestic and international level; and
3. the Council of Regency is exactly in the same position of a government of a State under military occupation, and is vested with the rights and powers recognized to governments of occupied States pursuant to international humanitarian law.
Professor Lenzerini further concludes:
Under international humanitarian law, the proclamations of the Council of Regency are not divested of effects as regards the civilian population of the Hawaiian Islands. In fact, considering these proclamations as included in the concept of “legislation”…they might even, if the concrete circumstances of the case so allow, apply retroactively at the end of the occupation, on the condition that the legislative acts in point do not “disregard the rights and expectations of the occupied population.” It is therefore necessary that the occupied government refrains “from using the national law as a vehicle to undermine public order and civil life in the occupied area.”
Imposition of United States legislative and administrative measures constitutes the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty under customary international law. This includes the legislative and administrative measures of the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties.
Professor Schabas also identified usurpation of sovereignty as a war crime that has and continues to be committed in the Hawaiian Islands. His legal opinion was also incorporated in a book published by the Royal Commission as chapter 4—War Crimes Related to the United States Belligerent Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom. This publication is downloadable as an eBook at no charge.
In 2015, Dr. David “Keanu” Sai met with State of Hawai‘i Governor Ige’s Chief of Staff, Mike McCartney, on three occasions at his office in the Executive Chambers regarding the subject of war crimes and the American occupation. After the meetings, Dr. Sai provided Mr. McCartney a report on July 2, 2015, on the duty and obligation of the State of Hawai‘i to transform itself into a Military government in order to come into compliance with international law. This transformation would take place when the governor declares martial law in accordance with the provisions of the State of Hawai‘i Constitution.
Governor Ige at the time did not take the necessary steps to comply with international law and the law of occupation. Consequently, the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties have continued to commit war crimes and human right violations, as well as violations of international law. As such, the actions and conduct of State of Hawai‘i and County officials have come under the purview of the Royal Commission of Inquiry.
The Royal Commission, however, sees as its priority the establishment of the Military government in order to administer the laws of the occupied State, and, thereby, bringing the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties into compliance with international law of occupation. This is the only way for war crimes and human rights violations to cease.
Members of the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties are not the insurgents of 1893, but rather individuals that found themselves in a tenuous situation without any fault of their own. Their actions viewed through the lens of international humanitarian law, however, have led to the commission of war crimes against the civilian population who have been made aware of the prolonged occupation, and when they were asserting their rights, they were maliciously attacked. Awareness of the American occupation satisfies the mental element necessary for the prosecution of a war crime.
The awareness of the prolonged occupation has reached the National Education Association (NEA) by a resolution introduced in 2017 by the Hawai‘i State Teachers Association at the NEA’s annual convention in Boston. This resulted in three articles that were published by the NEA on its website in 2018.
Also, the National Lawyers Guild, “the oldest and largest progressive bar association in the United States, calls upon the United States to immediately begin to comply with international humanitarian law in its prolonged and illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since 1893.”
The Royal Commission recognizes that war crimes and human rights violations cannot continue to be committed with impunity and the perpetrators must be held accountable, but it does recognize that the Council of Regency must have, as Professor Lenzerini stated in his opinion, a “cooperative relationship aimed at guaranteeing the realization of the rights and interests of the civilian population and the correct administration of the occupied territory.”
To this end, a letter of correspondence was sent by Dr. Sai, as Head of the Royal Commission of Inquiry, to State of Hawai‘i Attorney General Clare Connors on June 2, 2020. In his letter, Dr. Sai ends with:
These are not normal times but you are the legal advisor to the Governor, and due to the severity of the situation under international criminal law and the material elements of mens rea and actus reus, I respectfully implore you to carefully review the information I have provided you and to advise the office of the Governor accordingly. Under international humanitarian law, decisions on this matter are not with the federal government nor is it with its military here in the islands, but solely on the shoulders of the State of Hawai‘i as it is the entity in effective control of Hawaiian territory thereby triggering the law of occupation. I should also note that the governmental infrastructure of the State of Hawai‘i is that of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The only change was in name, e.g. the Department of Land and Natural Resources is the Ministry of the Interior. All that was changed in 1893 was the Queen and her cabinet, and the top law enforcement of the kingdom, being forcibly replaced by insurgents calling themselves the Executive and Advisory Councils.
Notwithstanding the warrantless attacks against myself and other officers of the Council of Regency by the State of Hawai‘i, I am hopeful that its current leadership, as the administration of the occupying State, will begin to meet with the Council of Regency in order to establish a “cooperative relationship” provided by international humanitarian law. In the meantime, the Royal Commission will continue to fulfill its mandate of investigating war crimes and human rights violations and providing periodic reports with the purpose of holding perpetrators accountable under international humanitarian law and human rights law.
Far too long the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties, whether by mistake or design, mischaracterized the Council of Regency as a self-declared sovereignty group. Rather, it is assured to be the interim government of the Hawaiian Kingdom established by proclamation on February 28, 1997, and is vested with the rights and powers afforded to a government of an occupied State in accordance with international humanitarian law. A recent documentary, which won several awards at independent film festivals, covers the Council of Regency and its strategy to engage the prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Royal Commission of Inquiry’s mandate is to investigate war crimes and human rights violations and report its findings to countries or international venues for prosecution, which is evidence based. Because war crimes have no statutes of limitations, investigations can occur within 80 years after the commission of the crime because of human longevity. In other words, the Royal Commission can investigate crimes that have been committed 80 years ago. Because war crimes are considered a peremptory norm, which is a serious violation of international law, all countries are obligated to prosecute the alleged perpetrators through their national institutions and may invoke universal jurisdiction. For those countries that a parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, they are obligated to prosecute alleged perpetrators who enter their territories for war crimes committed outside of their territory after 2002. According to Article 1 of the Rome Statute, the signatory countries must first investigate and prosecute war crimes, leaving the International Criminal Court the court of last resort. This is called complementary.