(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.