In 1875, a Commercial Reciprocity Treaty was entered into between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States that was to last for seven years. In 1884, a Supplemental Convention extended the duration of the commercial treaty for another seven years with the express condition that the United States was granted exclusive access to Pearl Harbor. Article II of the Supplemental Convention states:
His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands grants to the Government of the United States the exclusive right to enter the harbor of Pearl River, in the Island of Oahu, and to establish and maintain there a coaling and repair station for the use of vessels of the United States, and to that end the United States may improve the entrance to said harbor and do all other things needful to the purpose aforesaid.
The Supplemental Convention came into effect in 1887 after ratifications were exchanged and would last for seven years and further until “either of the High Contracting Parties shall give notice to the other of its wish to terminate the same,” where termination would commence twelve months after the notification is received by the other High Contracting Party. Although the Hawaiian government was unlawfully overthrown by the United States on January 17, 1893, the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State under international law continued to exist. In 1997, the Hawaiian Kingdom government was restored as a Regency serving in the absence of a Monarch.
On October 20, 2023, the Hawaiian Kingdom, by its Council of Regency, proclaimed the termination of the 1875 Commercial Reciprocity Treaty and its 1884 Supplemental Convention in accordance with Article I of the said Supplemental Convention. The following day, a notice of termination was sent, by courier United States Postal Service, to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. The notice of termination was received by the United States Department of State on 26 October 2023 at 5:47am ET, which consequently triggered the tolling of twelve months after which the Commercial Reciprocity Treaty and its Supplemental Convention would terminate.
The reasoning behind the notice of termination was that the United States in its unlawful and prolonged military occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since 17 January 1893 has exploited its use of Pearl Harbor by establishing military bases and facilities throughout the Hawaiian Islands under the Indo-Pacific Command of the U.S. Department of Defense in violation of the Article 1 of the 1907 Hague Convention (V) respecting the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land. Although the Hawaiian Kingdom is not a Contracting State to the 1907 Hague Convention (V), it is mere codification of nineteenth century customary international law. On April 7, 1855, King Kamehameha IV proclaimed the foreign policy of the Kingdom:
My policy, as regards all foreign nations, being that of peace, impartiality and neutrality, in the spirit of the Proclamation by the late King, of the 16th May last, and of the Resolutions of the Privy Council of the 15th June and 17th July, I have given to the President of the United States, at his request, my solemn adhesion to the rule, and to the principles establishing the rights of neutrals during war, contained in the Convention between his Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias and the United States, concluded in Washington on the 22nd July last.
This policy of neutrality remained unchanged throughout the nineteenth century. Furthermore, the policy of neutrality by the Hawaiian Kingdom as a Neutral Power were inserted as treaty provisions in the Hawaiian-Swedish/Norwegian Treaty of 1852, the Hawaiian-Spanish Treaty of 1863, and the Hawaiian-German Treaty of 1879. In its treaty with Sweden/Norway, Article XV states, “His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway engages to respect in time of war the neutral rights of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and to use his good offices with all other powers, having treaties with His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands, to induce them to adopt the same policy towards the Hawaiian Kingdom.”
As a result of the termination of the treaty and its convention, all United States military forces in the Hawaiian Islands will be withdrawn in twelve months by 5:47am ET on October 26, 2024. On the withdrawal, the Council of Regency proclaimed:
And, We do require that when the United States has received this notice of termination, it shall, prior to the expiration of twelve months in accordance with Article I of the 1884 Supplemental Convention, remove all movable property at its military facilities throughout the Hawaiian Islands, including unexploded munitions, and fuel, with the exception of real property attached to the land or erected on it, including man-made objects, such as buildings, homes, structures, roads, sewers, and fences, to include on other properties that have been or are currently under its supervision and command.
Not all military forces in the Hawaiian Islands are affected by the notice of termination. There are two military forces present within the Hawaiian Kingdom today. That of the United States Federal government called Title 10 United States Code (“USC”) armed forces, and that of the State of Hawai‘i National Guard called Title 32 USC armed forces. Title 10 troops are purely American in origin while the Title 32 troops are Hawaiian in origin, and, therefore, remain in the Hawaiian Islands to be called by its original designation—the Royal Guard.
When the United States unilaterally annexed the Hawaiian Islands in violation of international law on 7 July 1898, it initiated the establishment of the United States Army Pacific, United States Marine Forces Pacific, United States Pacific Fleet, and the United States Pacific Air Forces. The United States Army Pacific was established in the Hawaiian Islands in 1898 during the Spanish-American War, headquartered at its first military base called Camp McKinley on the Island of O‘ahu, and later headquartered at Fort Shafter on the Island of O‘ahu in 1921. In 1908, the Congress allocated funds to establish a Naval Station at Pearl Harbor.
In April 1942, the United States military forces in the Hawaiian Islands were organized into two commands for the Army under United States Army Forces Pacific and for the Navy as Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, and Pacific Oceans Areas Commander-in-Chief. This command structure of the Army and Navy in the Hawaiian Islands during the Second World War was transformed into the United States Pacific Command on 1 January 1947, which is presently called the Indo-Pacific Command, whose headquarters is at Camp H.M. Smith on the Island of O‘ahu. In September 1947, the United States Air Force separated from the United States Army as a separate branch of the armed forces with its base headquartered at Hickam Air Force Base on the Island of O‘ahu, and later, in 2010, merged to become an element of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam with the Navy.
The Indo-Pacific Command has four component commands stationed in the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom—United States Army Pacific, whose headquarters is at Fort Shafter on the Island of O‘ahu, United States Marine Forces Pacific, whose headquarters is at Camp H.M Smith on the Island of O‘ahu, United States Pacific Fleet, whose headquarters is at Naval Station Pearl Harbor on the Island of O‘ahu, and United States Pacific Air Forces, whose headquarters is at Hickam Air Force Base/Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on the Island of O‘ahu.
There is no legal basis for the presence of Title 10 USC military forces in the Hawaiian Islands by virtue of Congressional legislation because municipal laws have no extraterritorial effect. Since Congressional legislation is limited in operation to the territory of the United States, it cannot unilaterally establish military installations in the territory of a foreign State without the State’s consent through a treaty or convention. According to traditional international law, the concept of jurisdiction is linked to the State territory. As the Permanent Court of International Justice in the 1927 Lotus case stated:
[T]he 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 a convention […] 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 presence of all Title 10 USC military forces throughout the Hawaiian Islands has a direct nexus to the 1884 Supplemental Convention that granted the United States exclusive access to Pearl Harbor. The 1884 Supplemental Convention was a valid treaty under international law up until the Hawaiian Kingdom’s notice of intention to terminate was received by the U.S. Department of State at 5:47am ET on 26 October 2023. As a consequence of the termination, all Title 10 USC military forces shall have to be withdrawn from the Hawaiian Islands no later than 5:47am ET on 26 October 2024. The military forces that remain is the Hawaiian Kingdom’s Royal Guard that is referred to today as the Hawai‘i Army and Air National Guard.
For a comprehensive report on the termination of the 1875 Commercial Reciprocity Treaty and its 1884 Supplemental Convention go to the Royal Commission of Inquiry’s Preliminary Report on this subject.
CLARIFICATION. The 1884 Supplemental Convention began a seven-year term as of 1887 when ratifications were exchanged in Washington, D.C. It would continue after the seven-year period until either the Hawaiian Kingdom or the United States gives notification of its intention to terminate the treaty. When notice is received by the other party a twelve-month period begins for termination. Article I specifically states:
The High Contracting Parties agree, that the time fixed for the duration of the said Convention, shall be definitely extended for a term of seven years from the date of the exchange of ratifications hereof, and further, until the expiration of twelve months after either of the High Contracting Parties shall give notice to the other of its wish to terminate the same, each of the High Contracting Parties being at liberty to give such notice to the other at the end of the said term of seven years or at any time thereafter.
In other words, the seven-year term was locked in, but it would continue in force if there was no notice of termination. A similar provision for termination of the 1849 Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States was stated in Article XVI:
The present treaty shall be in force from the date of the exchange of the ratifications, for the term of ten years, and further, until the end of twelve months after either of the contracting parties shall have given notice to the other of its intention to terminate the same, each of the said contracting parties reserving to itself the right of giving such notice at the end of the said term of ten years, or at any subsequent term.
Only the 1875 Commercial Reciprocity Treaty and the 1884 Supplemental Convention have been terminated. All other treaties with the United States remain in full force and effect.
The European Convention on Nationality defines nationality as the legal bond between a person and a State and does not indicate the person’s ethnic origin. It is a person owing loyalty to and entitled by birth or naturalization to the protection of a given State. The terms nationality and citizenship are synonymous, and affords a person the political right to participate in government. Without it, a person is prevented from electing governmental officials or serving as a government official themselves. A political right is distinctly different from a civil right, which are basic human rights protected by the constitution and laws of the State, irregardless of a person’s citizenship. Non-citizens residing in the State are categorized as Aliens or Foreigners.
There are three ways a person could acquire citizenship within an established State depending on its national laws: (1) jus sanguinis, where a person being born outside the territory of the State acquires the citizenship of his or her parents; (2) jus soli, where the nationality is conferred upon a person by birth within the territory of the State; and (3) naturalization, where the government grants citizenship upon the application of a foreigner.
On January 21, 1868, the Minister of the Interior for the Hawaiian Kingdom, Ferdinand Hutchison, stated the criteria for Hawaiian nationality: “In the judgment of His Majesty’s Government, no one acquires citizenship in this Kingdom unless he is born here, or born abroad of Hawaiian parents, (either native or naturalized) during their temporary absence from the kingdom, or unless having been the subject of another power, he becomes a subject of this kingdom by taking the oath of allegiance.”
The position of the Hawaiian Government was founded upon Hawaiian statute. Section III, Art. I, Chap. V of an Act to Organize the Executive Departments, 1845 and 1846, provided: “All persons born within the jurisdiction of this kingdom, whether of alien foreigners, of naturalized or of native parents, and all persons born abroad of a parent native of this kingdom, and afterwards coming to reside in this, shall be deemed to owe native allegiance to His Majesty. All such persons shall be amenable to the laws of this kingdom as native subjects. All persons born abroad of foreign parents, shall unless duly naturalized, as in this article prescribed, be deemed aliens, and treated as such, pursuant to the laws.”
There are two exceptions where birth within the territory does not result in citizenship. First, where a child is born within the territory, but the child’s parents are foreign ambassadors or diplomats, that child is not a citizen of the territory of birth; and second, where a child is born of Alien enemies in an area of the territory under hostile occupation, that child will not be a citizen.
Regarding children of foreign diplomats, Frederick Turrill was an American citizen born in the Hawaiian Islands, but later got naturalized on May 21, 1888; and E.H. Wodehouse was a British subject born in the islands and later naturalized on May 7, 1892. The second exception applies to belligerent occupations.
There are numerous references to “children born of alien enemies in hostile occupation,” and one such reference is a U.S. Supreme Court decision. In 1898 during the Spanish-American War, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision concerning the United States citizenship of Wong Kim Ark, a person of Chinese descent. In that decision it also expounded upon the two exceptions to the acquisition of citizenship by birth as determined by the common law of England and made reference to an English case, Calvin’s case, which was decided by the English Court in the year 1608. Although the Hawaiian Kingdom courts have stated that the common law is not in force in this Kingdom, it did state that “…in construing our law the Court must be guided by those enactments and the decisions of American and English Courts.” In re Apuna, 6 Haw. 732 (1869).
In United States vs. Wong Kim Ark (1898), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled:
“The fundamental principle of the common law with regard to English nationality was birth within the allegiance, also called ‘ligealty,’ ‘obedience,’ ‘faith’ or ‘power,’ of the King. The principle embraced all persons born within the King’s allegiance and subject to his protection. Such allegiance and protection were mutual—as expressed in the maxim, protectio trahit subjectionem, et subjectio protectionem—and were not restricted to natural-born subjects and naturalized subjects, or to those who had taken an oath of allegiance; but were predicable of aliens in amity, so long as they were within the kingdom. Children, born in England, of such aliens, were therefore naturalborn subjects. but the children, born within the realm, of foreign ambassadors, or the children of alien enemies, born during and within their hostile occupation of part of the King’s dominions, were not natural born subjects, because not born within the allegiance, the obedience, or the power, or, as would be said at this day, within the jurisdiction of the King.”
In the Calvin’s case (1608), the English Court stated: “…for if enemies should come into the realm, and possess town or fort, and have issue there, that issue is no subject of the King of England though he be born upon his soil;” and “if any of the King’s ambassadors in foreign nations have children…they are natural born subjects [of England], yet they are born out of the King’s dominion.”
Once a State is occupied, international law preserves the status quo of the occupied State as it was before the occupation began. To preserve the nationality of the occupied State from being manipulated by the occupying State to its advantage, international law only allows individuals born within the territory of the occupied State to acquire the nationality of their parents—jus sanguinis. To preserve the status quo, Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention mandates that the “Occupying Power shall not…transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” For individuals, who were born within Hawaiian territory, to be a Hawaiian subjects they must be a direct descendant of a person or persons who were Hawaiian subjects prior to the American occupation that began on January 17, 1893, which is when Queen Lili‘uokalani conditionally surrendered to the United States. All individuals born after the surrender to the present are Aliens who can only acquire the nationality of their parents. According to Professor von Glahn, “children born in territory under enemy occupation possess the nationality of their parents.”
According to the 1890 government census, Hawaiian subjects numbered 48,107, with the aboriginal Hawaiian, both pure and part, numbering 40,622, being 84% of the national population, and the non-aboriginal Hawaiians numbering 7,485, being 16%. Despite the massive and illegal migrations of foreigners to the Hawaiian Islands since 1898, which, according to the State of Hawai‘i numbered 1,302,939 in 2009, the status quo of the national population of the Hawaiian Kingdom is maintained.Therefore, under the international laws of occupation, the aboriginal Hawaiian population of 322,812 in 2009 would continue to be 84% of the Hawaiian national population. The 16% of non-aboriginal Hawaiian subjects will need to be determined by a census report.
Similar to the Hawaiian Kingdom, the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were occupied by the Russians for over half a century. In 1940, Russian intervention provided for the forced incorporation of these Baltic States into the U.S.S.R. In 1991, with the breakup of the Soviet Union, these Baltic States once again regained their independence and immediately had to deal with the pressing issue of citizenship in the aftermath of prolonged Russian occupation.
Roger Brubaker, author of the article Citizenship struggles in Soviet Successor States (1992), stated that Estonia adopted a model for defining the initial body of citizens as the restored State model. States who regained their former independence are called restored States, and as these States are not new there would be no need to redefine a new body of citizens, but rather utilize the laws that existed before the occupation to determine the citizenry.
Under this model, persons born in Estonia before the 1940 annexation and their descendants were recognized as having Estonian citizenship. This also included United States citizens who were the offspring of Estonians. Regarding the citizenry of the occupier, the Estonian government also applied the same view the 1898 U.S. Supreme Court had made in U.S. vs. Wong Kim Ark. It viewed all Russians who entered the country after the occupation in 1940, and their descendants, as illegal and could not claim Estonian citizenship. But if a Russian was born in Estonia before the occupation that person acquired citizenship. Latvia also adopted the restored State model. Therefore, it can be stated as a matter of law and based on contemporary examples, that the Hawaiian citizenry of today is comprised of descendants of Hawaiian subjects and those foreigners who were born in the Hawaiian Islands prior to January 17, 1893.
This exclusion of the Hawaiian citizenry is based upon precedence and law, but a restored Hawaiian government does have the authority to widen the scope of its citizenry and adopt a more inclusive model in the aftermath of prolonged American occupation. Brubaker stated that Lithuania adopted such a model. Under the inclusive model, the original citizenry of Lithuania was confirmed under the restored State model, but the foreigners, which included the Russians, were divided into two groups. The first group comprised of permanent residents who would be granted optional inclusion in the Lithuanian citizenry, while the second would be classified as aliens. The optional inclusion of the first group depended upon these residents meeting certain minimum requirements established by the Lithuanian government. (i.e. years of residency and/or language).
Despite over a century of illegal migration that exploded the Alien population from 41,873 in 1890, of which U.S. citizens merely number 1,928, to 918,639 in 2009, the population of Hawaiian subjects has remained intact with its ratio of 84% aboriginal Hawaiians, who can readily be determined, and 16% non-aboriginal Hawaiians yet to be determined. This should alleviate the concern of aboriginal Hawaiian subjects who previously thought they were the minority, when in fact and law they remain the majority of the Hawaiian citizenry. Only Hawaiian subjects, whether aboriginal or non-aboriginal, have political rights, which means they alone can participate in government. §784 of the Hawaiian Civil Code states, “No alien shall be allowed to vote for representatives of the people.”
When dealing with a 130-year crisis of a prolonged and illegal American occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom, planning is a crucial component that informs where we are today and where we want to be tomorrow. An operational plan is informed by due diligence of the situation, which is a gathering of information relevant to the situation at hand and how it got to the current situation. In the military, this is colloquially known as gathering intel before you come up with a battle plan.
Due diligence is “depending on the relative facts of the special case.” It is the assessment of a situation before a decision should be made. When due diligence is done, the person doing it must be mindful of their own biases and assumptions. To gather information through one’s own bias is what is called “confirmation bias” where the gatherer of information only selects information that would confirm his/her own biases. This is also called cherry picking.
In the Hawaiian situation, there is an abundance of assumptions that are false such as the Hawaiian Islands were colonized by the United States in the nineteenth century, and, as a colonized people, Native Hawaiians are an Indigenous People by definition of the United Nations. United Nations defines Indigenous Peoples as tribal nations that exist with an independent State not of their own making. Arriving at this conclusion was done through confirmation bias.
The Council of Regency sought to gather information through the lens of both the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom and international law that includes international humanitarian law and the law of occupation. It was through this process that revealed that the Hawaiian Kingdom, which existed as an internationally recognized sovereign and independent State continued to exist since November 28, 1843, despite the illegal overthrow of its government by the United States on January 17, 1893. This continued existence stemmed from the international principle of inalienability of sovereignty of a State, and the only way a State can alienate its sovereignty is by its consent through a treaty of cession with the acquiring State. There exists no such treaty, therefore, the Hawaiian State continues to exist.
It was based on this premise that the government was restored as a Council of Regency in 1997 to provisionally represent the Hawaiian State both domestically and abroad. The actions to be taken by the Council of Regency would be in line with its strategic plan that entailed three phases. Phase I—verification of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State and a subject of international law. Phase II—exposure of Hawaiian Statehood within the framework of international law and the laws of occupation as it affects the realm of politics and economics at both the international and domestic levels. Phase III—restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State and a subject of international law. Phase III is when the American occupation comes to an end.
Phase I was achieved when the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), before establishing the arbitration tribunal in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom on June 9, 2000, acknowledged the continued existence of the Hawaiian State, and the Council of Regency as its government. Phase II, exposure of the Hawaiian State, was initiated during oral hearings on December 7, 8 and 11, 2000, at the PCA in The Hague. Phase II continued at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa when the Chairman of the Council of Regency, David Keanu Sai, entered the political science graduate program, where he received a master’s degree specializing in international relations and public law in 2004 and a Ph.D. degree in 2008 on the subject of the continuity of Hawaiian Statehood while under an American prolonged belligerent occupation since 1893.
The exposure through academic research also motivated historian Tom Coffman to change the title of his 1998 book from Nation Within: The Story of America’s Annexation of the Nation of Hawai‘i, to Nation Within—The History of the American Occupation of Hawai‘i. Coffman explained the change in his note on the second edition and took a quote from Dr. Sai’s law article A Slippery Path Towards Hawaiian Indigeneity. Coffman wrote:
I am compelled to add that the continued relevance of this book reflects a far-reaching political, moral and intellectual failure of the United States to recognize and deal with the takeover of Hawai‘i. In the book’s subtitle, the word Annexation has been replaced by the word Occupation, referring to America’s occupation of Hawai‘i. Where annexation connotes legality by mutual agreement, the act was not mutual and therefore not legal. Since by definition of international law there was no annexation, we are left then with the word occupation.
In making this change, I have embraced the logical conclusion of my research into the events of 1893 to 1898 in Honolulu and Washington, D.C. I am prompted to take this step by a growing body of historical work by a new generation of Native Hawaiian scholars. Dr. Keanu Sai writes, “The challenge for … the fields of political science, history, and law is to distinguish between the rule of law and the politics of power.” In the history of the Hawai‘i, the might of the United States does not make it right.
It took the Council of Regency just over 20 years to change the conversation from colonization and indigenous peoples rights to military occupation and the rights of Hawaiian subjects under the law of occupation. With the shifting of the historical lens, legal consequences began to emerge especially with the involvement of Professor Matthew Craven from the University of London, SOAS, School of Law, who authored a legal opinion on the Continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State under international law; Professor William Schabas from Middlesex University London, School of Law, and a renowned expert in international criminal law, who authored a Legal Opinion on War Crimes related to the United States belligerent occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom; and Professor Federico Lenzerini from the University of Siena, Italy, Department of Political and International Science, who authored Legal Opinion on the authority of the Council of Regency of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
Both the Operational Plans for Transitioning the State of Hawai‘i into a Military Government and Transitioning the Military Government to the Hawaiian Kingdom Government, which will bring the prolonged American occupation to an end, is a culmination of years of research and exposure and is a subset of plans under phase II of the strategic plan. As such we are moving toward the end of phase II and preparing for phase III that will bring the 130-year crisis to an end.
The two operational plans are clear as to where we are, where we need to get to, and the path to get there. The essential tasks and the implied tasks in each of the plans are measurable, and, most importantly, flexible when achieving the tasks. They allow flexibility to adjust to issues unforeseen such as time and allocation of resources. The Council of Regency established a 3-year window for the occupation to come to an end, but it doesn’t prevent unforeseen and extenuating circumstances to adjust the timeline. When the American occupation of Japan began in 1945, it was thought that it would last 3 years. But circumstances extended the occupation an additional 4 years. The same could happen in the Hawaiian situation, but the Council of Regency needed to set an initial timeline of 3 years.
Despite the prolonged nature of the occupation and 130 years of non-compliance to the law of occupation, there are two fundamental rules that prevail: (1) to protect the sovereign rights of the legitimate government of the Occupied State; and (2) to protect the inhabitants of the Occupied State from being exploited. From these two rules, the 1907 Hague Regulations and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention circumscribe the conduct and actions of a military government, notwithstanding the failure by the occupant to protect the rights of the occupied government and the inhabitants since 1893. These rights remain vested despite over a century of violating these rights. The failure to establish a military government facilitated the violations.
The law of occupation does not give the occupant unlimited power over the inhabitants of the Occupied State. As President McKinley interpreted this customary law of occupation under General Orders No. 101 (July 18, 1898), that predates the 1899 and 1907 Hague Regulations during the Spanish-American War, the inhabitants of occupied territory “are entitled to security in their persons and property and in all their private rights and relations,” and it is the duty of the commander of the occupant “to protect them in their homes, in their employments, and in their personal and religious beliefs.” The Order also stated that “the municipal laws of the conquered territory, such as affect private rights of person and property and provide for the punishment of crime, are considered as continuing in force” and are “to be administered by the ordinary tribunals, substantially as they were before the occupation.”
United States practice under the law of occupation acknowledges that sovereignty remains in the Occupied State, because according to the U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10, “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” through effective control of the territory of the Occupied State.
The prolonged occupation did not diminish Hawaiian State sovereignty and the continued existence of the Hawaiian State was acknowledged by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 1999 in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom. On March 22, 2023, the United Nations Human Council, at its 49th session in Geneva, was made aware of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an Occupied State and the commission of war crimes and human rights violations within its territory by the United States and the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties.
International humanitarian law is silent on a “prolonged occupation” because the authors of 1907 Hague Regulations viewed occupations to be provisional and not long term. According to Professor Scobbie, “The fundamental postulate of the regime of belligerent occupation is that it is a temporary state of affairs during which the occupant is prohibited from annexing the occupied territory. The occupant is vested only with temporary powers of administration and does not possess sovereignty over the territory.”
The effective control by the United States since Queen Lili‘uokalani’s conditional surrender on January 17, 1893, did not transfer Hawaiian sovereignty. As Professor Benvenisti explains, “Effective control by foreign military force can never bring about by itself a valid transfer of sovereignty. Because occupation does not transfer sovereignty over the territory to the occupying power, international law must regulate the inter-relationships between the occupying force, the ousted government, and the local inhabitants for the duration of the occupation. From the principle of inalienable sovereignty over a territory springs the basic structural constraints that international law imposes upon the occupant.”
Despite the prolonged nature of the American occupation, the law of occupation continues to apply because sovereignty was never ceded or transferred to the United States by the Hawaiian Kingdom. At a meeting of experts on the law occupation, that was convened by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the experts “pointed out that the norms of occupation law, in particular Article 43 of the Hague Regulations and Article 64 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, had originally been designed to regulate short-term occupations. However, the [experts] agreed that [international humanitarian law] did not set any limits to the time span of an occupation. It was therefore recognized that nothing under [international humanitarian law] would prevent occupying powers from embarking on a long-term occupation and that occupation law would continue to provide the legal framework applicable in such circumstances.” They also concluded that since a prolonged occupation “could lead to transformations and changes in the occupied territory that would normally not be necessary during short-term occupation,” they “emphasized the need to interpret occupation law flexibly when an occupation persisted.” The prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom is, in fact, that case, where drastic unlawful “transformations and changes in the occupied territory” occurred.
As the occupant in effective control of 10,931 square miles of Hawaiian territory, the State of Hawai‘i, being the civilian government of the Hawaiian Kingdom that was unlawfully seized in 1893, is obligated to transform itself into a military government in order “to protect the sovereign rights of the legitimate government of the Occupied State, and…to protect the inhabitants of the Occupied State from being exploited.” The military government has centralized control, headed military governor, and by virtue of this position, according U.S. Army Field Manual 27-5, the military governor has “supreme legislative, executive, and judicial authority, limited only the laws and customs of war and by directives from higher authority.”
The reasoning for the centralized control of authority is so that the military government can effectively respond to situations that are fluid in nature. Under the law of occupation, this authority by the occupant is to be shared with the Council of Regency, being the government of the Occupied State. As the last word concerning any acts relating to the administration of the occupied territory is with the occupying power, “occupation law would allow for a vertical, but not a horizontal, sharing of authority [in the sense that] this power sharing should not affect the ultimate authority of the occupier over the occupied territory.”
By virtue of this shared authority, the Council of Regency, in its meeting on August 14, 2023, approved an “Operational Plan for Transitioning the State of Hawai‘i into a Military Government.” International humanitarian law distinguishes between the “Occupying State” and the “occupant.” The law of occupation falls upon the latter and not the former, because the former’s seat of government exists outside of Hawaiian territory, while the latter’s military government exists within Hawaiian territory.
This operational plan lays out the process of transition from the State of Hawai‘i government to a Military Government in accordance with international humanitarian law, the law of occupation, and U.S. Army regulations in Field Manuals 27-5 and 27-10. The 1907 Hague Regulations and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention shows there are four essential tasks of the Military Government. This operational plan addresses these essential tasks with their implied tasks for successful execution despite the prolonged nature of the occupation where the basic rules of occupation have been violated for over a century. The operational plan lays out governing rules of maintaining a Military Government until a peace treaty has been negotiated and agreed upon between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States of America.
The insurgents, who were not held to account for their treasonous actions in 1893, were allowed by the United States to control and exploit the resources of the Hawaiian Kingdom and its inhabitants after the Hawaiian government was unlawfully overthrown by United States troops. Some of these insurgents came to be known as the Big Five, a collection of five self-serving large businesses, that wielded considerable political and economic power after 1893. The Big Five were Castle & Cooke, Alexander & Baldwin, C. Brewer & Company, American Factors (now Amfac), and Theo H. Davies & Company. One of the Big Five, Amfac, acquired an interest in Pioneer Mill Company in 1918, and in 1960 became a wholly owned subsidiary of Amfac.
Pioneer Mill Company operated in West Maui with its headquarters in Lahaina. In 1885, Pioneer Mill Company was cultivating 600 of the 900 acres owned by the company and by 1910, 8,000 acres were devoted to growing sugar cane. In 1931, the Olowalu Company was purchased by Pioneer Mill Company, adding 1,200 acres of sugar cane land to the plantation. By 1935, over 10,000 acres, half-owned and half leased, were producing sugar cane for Pioneer Mill. To maintain its plantations, water was diverted, and certain lands of west Maui became dry.
The Lahaina wildfire’s tragic outcome also draws attention to the exploitation of the resources of west Maui and its inhabitants—water and land. West Maui Land Company, Inc., became the successor to Pioneer Mill and its subsidiary the Launiupoko Irrigation Company. When the sugar plantation closed in 1999, it was replaced with real estate development and water management. Instead of diverting water to the sugar plantation, it began to divert water to big corporations, hotels, golf courses, and luxury subdivisions. As reported by Hawai‘i Public Radio, “Lahaina was formerly the ‘Venice of the Pacific,’ an area famed for its lush environment, natural and cultural resources, and its abundant water resources in particular.” Lahaina became a deadly victim of water diversion and exploitation. It should be noted that Lahaina is but a microcosm of the exploitation of the resources of the Hawaiian Kingdom and its inhabitants throughout the Hawaiian Islands for the past century to benefit the American economy in violation of the law of occupation.
Considering the devastation and tragedy of the Lahaina wildfire, transforming the State of Hawai‘i into a military government is only amplified and made much more urgent. It has been reported that the west Maui community, to their detriment, are frustrated with the lack of centralized control by departments and agencies of the federal government, the State of Hawai‘i, and the County of Maui. The law of occupation will not change the support of these departments and agencies, but rather only change the dynamics of leadership under the centralized control by the military governor. The operational plan provides a comprehensive process of transition with essential tasks and implied tasks to be carried out. The establishment of a military government would also put an end to land developers approaching victims of the fire who lost their homes to purchase their property. While land titles were incapable of being conveyed after January 17, 1893, for want of a lawful government and its notaries public, titles are capable of being remedied under Hawaiian Kingdom law and economic relief by title insurance policies. It is unfortunate that the tragedy of Lahaina has become an urgency for the State of Hawai‘i to begin to comply with the law of occupation and establish a military government. To not do so is a war crime of omission.
After securing Phase I of the of the Council of Regency’s strategic plan where in 1999 the Permanent Court of Arbitration “verified the Hawaiian Kingdom as independent State and subject of international law,” Phase II was initiated to expose “Hawaiian Statehood within the framework of international law and the laws of occupation as it affects the realm of politics and economics at both the international and domestic levels.” This exposure has brought out many aspects of international law and the law of occupation that many have heard only for the first time.
There are terms such as international humanitarian law, which the military refers to as the law of armed conflict. International law distinguishes between a State and its government. What occurred on January 17, 1893, was that United States troops and a diplomat overthrew the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Hawaiian State was not affected by the overthrow and remained a subject of international law with its rights and duties intact. This type of situation under international humanitarian law is called belligerent occupation where the Occupying State must administer the laws of the Occupied State until a treaty of peace comes into effect.
The only way the United States could have acquired the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom, called the Hawaiian Islands, is by way of a treaty of peace that cedes Hawaiian territory to the United States. The United States was unable to acquire Hawaiian territory by a treaty of cession because it overthrew the government. A treaty requires the government of a State to cede its territory. Instead, the United States enacted a congressional joint resolution purporting to have annexed the Hawaiian Islands at the height of the Spanish-American War in 1898. Since 1898, the United States has been unlawfully imposing its laws over Hawaiian territory, which is the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation.
In the case of Hawai‘i, we are dealing with role of the Adjutant General of the Army and Air National Guard. Under federal and State law, the National Guard can serve two commanders in chief but not at the same time. According to Article II, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the President becomes the commander in chief of the National Guard “when called into the actual Service of the United States.” Until that time, the commander in chief of the National Guard is the Governor of the State.
Article V of the State of Hawai‘i Constitution provides that the Governor is the Chief Executive of the State of Hawai‘i. He is also the commander-in-chief of the Army and Air National Guard and appoints the Adjutant General who “shall be the executive head of the department of defense and commanding general of the militia of the State.” Section 121-9 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes states, “The adjutant general shall perform such duties as are prescribed by law and such other military duties consistent with the regulations and customs of the armed forces of the United States as required by the governor.” In other words, the Adjutant General operates under two regimes of law, that of the State of Hawai‘i and that of the United States Army.
When the National Guard is called into State active duty, not federal active duty, the Governor is the commander-in-chief and has command and control. Under him is the Adjutant General that has command and control of the forces that have been activated. This is what occurred when certain units of the Army and Air National Guard were activated in 1992 when Hurricane Iniki devastated the island of Kaua‘i. Governor John Waihe‘e was the commander-in-chief and Brigadier General Edward Richardson was the Adjutant General. When the Hawai‘i Army and Air National Guard were called to federal active duty for deployment to Iraq during Second Gulf War in 2005, the commander-in-chief changed from State of Hawai‘i Governor Linda Lingle to President George W. Bush.
These American laws, however, don’t apply in the Hawai‘i situation. Unlike the other 49 Governors of States in the Federal Union their authorities derive from American laws that include both Federal and State laws. Because the State of Hawai‘i is outside of the borders of the United States, and as such is foreign territory, the authority of the State of Hawai‘i to include its Governor is stripped. The reason for this is the authority of the Governor derives from the 1959 Statehood Act, which under international law is a war crime. What allows the State of Hawai‘i to exist, however, is international humanitarian law and the law of occupation. Under these laws, the State of Hawai‘i is a civilian armed force acting for the United States as an occupying State.
The decision to establish a military government in foreign territory is not with the U.S. President as commander-in-chief but rather with the most senior commander of the armed forces in foreign territory that has come under effective control. Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations states, “Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.” The State of Hawai‘i, and not the Federal government, is in effective control of 94% of Hawaiian territory.
According to United States Army Field Manual 27-5—Civil Affairs Military Government, the theater commander over foreign territory to come under military occupation bears full responsibility for establishing a military government. That person is a general officer and designated as military governor and is authorized to delegate his authority and title, in whole or in part, to a subordinate commander.
Section 8 of FM 27-5 states, “In occupied territory the commander, by virtue of his position, has supreme legislative, executive, and judicial authority, limited only by the laws and customs of war and by directives from higher authority.” Section 3 states that the reasons for establishing a military government “are either military necessity as a right, or as an obligation under international law.” And since military occupation “suspends the operation of the government of the occupied territory, the obligation arises under international law for the occupying force to exercise the functions of civil government looking toward the restoration of maintenance of public order.”
In this situation, it is the State of Hawai‘i Adjutant General that has the responsibility and duty to establish a military government for Hawai‘i under international law and begin to administer Hawaiian Kingdom laws and the provisional laws in accordance with 2014 Proclamation of Provisional Laws by the Council of Regency.
After securing Phase I of the of the Council of Regency’s strategic plan where in 1999 the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, “verified the Hawaiian Kingdom as independent State and subject of international law,” Phase II was initiated in order to expose “Hawaiian Statehood within the framework of international law and the laws of occupation as it affects the realm of politics and economics at both the international and domestic levels.” This exposure has brought out many aspects of international law and the law of occupation that many have only heard for the first time.
There are terms such as international humanitarian law, which the military throughout the world refers to as the law of armed conflict. The rule that distinguishes between a State and its government. The difference between military occupation of a State and the colonization of territory that is not a State. Adding to this list of new terms and principles include Army doctrine and regulations that apply to military occupation of foreign territory.
In the case of Hawai‘i, we are dealing with role of the Adjutant General of the Army and Air National Guard. Under federal and State law, the National Guard can serve two commanders in chief but not at the same time. According to Article II, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the President becomes the commander in chief of the National Guard “when called into the actual Service of the United States.” Until that time, the commander in chief of the National Guard is the Governor of the State.
When the National Guard is called to State active duty, not federal active duty, the Governor is the commander and chief and has command and control. Under him is the Adjutant General that has command and control of the forces that have been activated. This is what occurred when certain units of the Army and Air National Guard were activated in 1992 when Hurricane Iniki devastated the island of Kaua‘i. Governor John Waihe‘e was the commander in chief and Brigadier General Edward Richardson was the Adjutant General.
When units of the Hawai‘i Army and Air National Guard were called to federal active duty for deployment to Iraq during Second Gulf War in 2003, the commander in chief changed from State of Hawai‘i Governor Linda Lingle to President George W. Bush.
As an occupied State, these American laws do not apply in the Hawai‘i situation. The unlawful imposition of these laws constitutes the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation. Unlike the other 49 Governors of States in the federal Union, their authorities derive from these American laws that include both federal and State laws.
Because the State of Hawai‘i is outside of the borders of the United States, and as such is foreign territory, the authority of the State of Hawai‘i to include its Governor is stripped. What allows the State of Hawai‘i to exist, however, is international humanitarian law and the law of occupation. Under these laws, the State of Hawai‘i is a civilian armed force acting for the United States as an occupying State, which has effective control of 94% of the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The federal government only has effective control of less that 6% of the territory.
The decision to establish a military government in foreign territory is not with the U.S. President as commander in chief but rather with the most senior commander of the armed forces in foreign territory that has come under effective control by the occupying force. According to section 3 of FM 27-5, Civil Affairs Military Government, the theater commander over the territory to come under military occupation bears full responsibility for establishing a military government.
That person is a general officer and designated as military governor and is authorized to delegate his authority and title, in whole or in part, to a subordinate commander. “In occupied territory the commander, by virtue of his position, has supreme legislative, executive, and judicial authority, limited only by the laws and customs of war and by directives from higher authority.” So under Army doctrine, it is never the President of the United States to establish a military government but rather the most senior military commander in the occupied territory.
Section 4 of FM 27-5 also states that the reasons for establishing a military government “are either military necessity as a right, or as an obligation under international law.” And since military occupation “suspends the operation of the government of the occupied territory, the obligation arises under international law for the occupying force to exercise the functions of civil government looking toward the restoration of maintenance of public order.”
In this situation, it is the State of Hawai‘i Adjutant General that has the responsibility and duty to establish a military government for Hawai‘i under international law. This is a command decision to be made by the Adjutant General who is the most senior Army commander in the occupied territory of Hawai‘i.
For 130 years the United States violated international law and the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom. These violations were concealed by a false narrative that the Hawaiian Islands became a part of the United States in 1898, which led to the establishment of the Territory of Hawai‘i in 1900, and then the State of Hawai‘i in 1959.
These three acts were done by congressional legislation, which have no effect beyond the borders of the United States. This is analogous to Congress enacting legislation that establishes an American government in Ottawa, Canada. Without a treaty where the Hawaiian Kingdom ceded its territory to the United States like the Mexican government ceded its northern territory to the United States in 1848, congressional laws have no effect within Hawaiian territory. This legal principle of United States law is a pulled grenade pin that renders these acts not only unlawful under international law but are also considered the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation.
Usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation was listed as a war crime in 1919 report by the Commission on Responsibilities of the Paris Peace Conference that was established by the Allied and Associated Powers at war with Germany and its allies during World War I. The Commission was especially concerned with acts perpetrated in occupied territories against non-combatants and civilians. Usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation is the imposition of the laws and administrative policies and measures of the Occupying State over the territory of the Occupied State.
When the United States unlawfully overthrew the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom on January 17, 1893, the Hawaiian Kingdom continued to exist as a State, which the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, acknowledged in 1999. The law of occupation mandated the United States to establish a military government in order to temporarily administer the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom until a treaty of peace comes into force.
In 1828, U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall, in American Insurance Company v. Canter, wrote that “the holding of conquered territory is mere military occupation, until its fate shall be determined at the treaty of peace. If it be ceded by the treaty, the acquisition is confirmed and the ceded territory becomes a part of the nation to which it is annexed, either on the terms stipulated in the treaty of cession or on such as its new master shall impose.” There is no treaty of cession between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States.
Because military occupations do not last for long periods, the cornerstone of the law of occupation is to maintain the status quo of the occupied State. This means that the occupying State cannot impose its laws over occupied territory, change the governmental institutions of the occupied State, or transfer its own citizens into the occupied State. For the past 130 years, the United States did exactly that, which complicates the situation today. However, the laws of occupation and the principles of necessity are flexible enough to come up with a comprehensive plan of compliance. It is said that necessity is the mother of all inventions.
The first step is to identify what entity of the occupying State is responsible for establishing a military government. Is it the United States federal government or the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties? Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations states that territory is occupied when it comes under the effective control of the occupying State, which triggers the law of occupation. Of the 4 million acres that comprise Hawaiian territory, the State of Hawai‘i is in effective control of 94%, while the United States federal government is in control of 6%. Having met the requirement of effective control of occupied territory, the State of Hawai‘i and not the federal government has the responsibility to established the military government to temporarily administer the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
With a view to bringing compliance with international humanitarian law by the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties and recognizing their effective control of Hawaiian territory in accordance with Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations, the Council of Regency proclaimed and recognized their existence as the administration of the occupying State on June 3, 2019.
The State of Hawai‘i and its Counties, under the laws and customs of war during occupation, can now serve as the administrator of Hawaiian Kingdom laws. Prior to the proclamation, the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties were established by virtue of U.S. Congressional legislation unlawfully imposed within Hawaiian territory, being the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation. According to Professor Schabas, the action or conduct “of the offense of ‘usurpation of sovereignty’ would consist of the imposition of legislation or administrative measures by the occupying power that go beyond those required by what is necessary for military purposes of the occupation.”
The next step is to address the fact that Hawaiian Kingdom laws in 1893 are not up to date because of the non-compliance by the United States at the time of international law. Nevertheless, it is still a rule of international law that Hawaiian laws must be administered and not American laws, which is a war crime.
To address this issue, the Council of Regency on October 10, 2014, proclaimed provisional laws of the kingdom to be any and all American laws, whether federal, State of Hawai‘i or the Counties, that are not “contrary to the express, reason and spirit of the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom prior to July 6, 1887, the international laws of occupation and international humanitarian law.” Accompanying the proclamation of provisional laws is a memorandum by the Chairman of the Council of Regency who provides a formula to be used when determining which American municipal laws can be the provisional laws of the kingdom.
In determining which American municipal laws shall constitute a provisional law of the kingdom, the following questions need to be answered. If any question is answered with “yes,” with the exception of question 5, then it is not to be considered a provisional law.
1. The first consideration begins with Hawaiian constitutional alignment. Does the American municipal law violate any provisions of the 1864 Constitution, as amended?
2. Does it run contrary to a monarchical form of government? In other words, does it promote a republican form of government.
3. If the American municipal law has no comparison to Hawaiian Kingdom law, would it run contrary to the Hawaiian Kingdom’s police power?
4. If the American municipal law is comparable to Hawaiian Kingdom law, does it run contrary to the Hawaiian statute?
5. Does the American municipal law infringe vested rights secured under Hawaiian law?
6. And finally, does it infringe the obligations of the Hawaiian Kingdom under customary international law or by virtue of it being a Contracting State to its treaties? The last question would also be applied to Hawaiian Kingdom laws enumerated in the Civil Code, together with the session laws of 1884 and 1886, and the Penal Code.
In his memorandum, the Chairman applied the formula to determine whether the State of Hawai‘i statutes on murder, manslaughter, and negligent homicide can be considered provisional laws of the kingdom. His conclusion was yes. The memo states that the State of Hawai‘i laws on murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide are not “’contrary to the express, reason and spirit of the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom prior to July 6, 1887, the international laws of occupation and international humanitarian law.’ To the extent that the felony murder rule is omitted, the State of Hawai‘i law on murder would be consistent with the Hawaiian Kingdom law on murder.”
The final step is to draft a comprehensive plan of action for the State of Hawai‘i to transform itself into a military government to administer the laws of 1893 that are augmented with provisional laws while the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties are in effective control of Hawaiian territory. On April 7, 2023, the Chairman authored another memorandum on the role and function of the military government of Hawai‘i.
The memo first dispels with the American annexation of the Hawaiian Islands in 1898, the establishment of the Territory of Hawai‘i in 1900, and the changing of the name of the Territory to the State of Hawai‘i in 1959. Each of these acts stem from legislation by the United States Congress, which has no legal effect beyond the borders of the United States. The memo then addresses the law of occupation and the duty of a military government of the occupying State to administer the laws of the occupied State. The legal status of the State of Hawai‘i under international humanitarian law is then addressed.
Under international law, the State of Hawai‘i is not an American government but rather a civilian armed force of the occupying State. It can claim no authority under American law because the American law that established the State of Hawai‘i in 1959 has no effect outside of United States borders, and when it is imposed in Hawaiian territory it constitutes the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation. However, according to the memo, “Article 1 of the 1907 Hague Regulations provides that the laws, rights and duties of war apply not only to the occupying State’s army but also to its civilian armed forces. In other words, the State of Hawai‘i can exist within the confines of international humanitarian law and not American municipal laws.”
The memo then addresses the role and function of a military government. Under the heading of Military Government, the memo explains that there “is a difference between military government and martial law. While both comprise military jurisdiction, the former is exercised over territory of a foreign State under military occupation, and the latter over loyal territory of the State enforcing. Actions of a military government are governed by international humanitarian law while martial law is governed by the domestic laws of the State enforcing it.”
The memo then explains that according to the practice of the United States when establishing a military government in foreign territory, that responsibility is the Army and not the Navy, Marines or Air Force. Military governments usually take over the governmental infrastructure of the occupied State and can augment certain aspects of the infrastructure in order to effectively carry out the mission of a military occupation. In the Hawaiian situation, the memo states that there are four “essential tasks set forth in the Hague and Geneva Conventions […] as follows: (1) Restore and ensure public order and safety, (2) provide medical care, supplies and subsistence, (3) ensure the care and education of children, [and] (4) respect private property and properly manage public property.”
Because the Army is responsible for this function of the occupying State, it “took steps to prepare for military occupations by publishing two field manuals—FM 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, and FM 27-5, Civil Affairs Military Government. Chapter 6 of FM 27-10 covers military occupation. Section 355 of FM 27-10 states, ‘[m]ilitary occupation is a question of fact. It presupposes a hostile invasion, resisted or unresisted, as a result of which the invader has rendered the invaded government incapable of publicly exercising its authority, and that the invader has successfully substituted its own authority for that of the legitimate government in the territory invaded.’ FM 27-10 has been superseded by FM 6-27, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Land Warfare. Chapter 6 covers occupation.”
The State of Hawai‘i official with the duty and obligation to transform the State of Hawai‘i and the Counties into a military government by proclamation is the Adjutant General who is in charge of the Army and Air National Guard. The memo explains that the “Adjutant General is trained in Army doctrine and regulations, to include the 1907 Hague Regulations and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Conventions, for this type of a situation in occupied territory, where a civilian is not. The Adjutant General would be the military governor that presides over a military government.”
The memo makes reference to the 1893 proclamation by the provisional government as an example to use in drafting a proclamation today. “Although unlawful, the proclamation of 17 January 1893 by the so-called provisional government can be useful as to the wording of the military governor’s proclamation today because government officials continued in place with the exception of Queen Lili‘uokalani, her Cabinet, and the Marshal of the police force. The laws were also continued to be in effect. In the situation now, government officials would remain in place, with exceptions not in line with the law of occupation, and the laws would continue to be in effect as provisional laws together with Hawaiian Kingdom laws that existed prior to 1893. The military governor’s proclamation would, in a sense, be a reversal of the provisional government’s proclamation and in line with the law of occupation.”
Following the proclamation of a military government, the memo states, “The first order of business for the military government would be to disband the legislative bodies of the State of Hawai‘i and the Counties in order to stop the enactment of American municipal laws. The function of a military government is to administer the laws of the occupied State, which in this case include certain American municipal laws, as situations of fact, that have become provisional laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom in accordance with the formula to determine which American municipal laws can be considered provisional laws of the kingdom.”
The memo then states, “Second order of business is for the military governor to determine which American municipal laws can be considered the provisional laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom during the American military occupation that augments and not replaces the Civil Code, together with the session laws of 1884 and 1886, and the Penal Code. These provisional laws will need to be made public by proclamation of the military governor. Paragraph 6-53 of FM 6-27 states that “the population of the occupied territory must be informed of any alteration, suspension, or repeal of existing laws and of the enactment of new laws.” The memo concludes with:
In light of the legal opinion on war crimes related to the United States belligerent occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by Professor Schabas on 25 July 2019, a renowned jurist and expert on international criminal law, genocide and war crimes, and the oral statement given to the United Nations Human Rights Council on 22 March 2022 by two NGOs—International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the American Association of Jurists that war crimes are being committed in Hawai‘i, it should warrant the Adjutant General to take this matter seriously because of the legal consequences of the United States’ violation of international humanitarian law for over a century.
The only way to stop war crimes from being committed with impunity by State of Hawai‘i and County officials is to comply with the law of occupation. In Army jargon, this is a command decision to be made at the top of the chain of command.
International Criminal Court Press Release
March 17, 2023
Today, 17 March 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”) issued warrants of arrest for two individuals in the context of the situation in Ukraine: Mr Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Ms Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova.
Mr Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, born on 7 October 1952, President of the Russian Federation, is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation (under articles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute). The crimes were allegedly committed in Ukrainian occupied territory at least from 24 February 2022. There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, (i) for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others (article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute), and (ii) for his failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed for their commission, and who were under his effective authority and control, pursuant to superior responsibility (article 28(b) of the Rome Statute).
Ms Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, born on 25 October 1984, Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation (under articles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute). The crimes were allegedly committed in Ukrainian occupied territory at least from 24 February 2022. There are reasonable grounds to believe that Ms Lvova-Belova bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others (article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute).
Pre-Trial Chamber II considered, based on the Prosecution’s applications of 22 February 2023, that there are reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, in prejudice of Ukrainian children.
The Chamber considered that the warrants are secret in order to protect victims and witnesses and also to safeguard the investigation. Nevertheless, mindful that the conduct addressed in the present situation is allegedly ongoing, and that the public awareness of the warrants may contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes, the Chamber considered that it is in the interests of justice to authorise the Registry to publicly disclose the existence of the warrants, the name of the suspects, the crimes for which the warrants are issued, and the modes of liability as established by the Chamber.
The abovementioned warrants of arrests were issued pursuant to the applications submitted by the Prosecution on 22 February 2023.
Like many who are unaware of the legal and political history of the Hawaiian Kingdom, many are unaware of the legal and political history of the State of Texas. While there are parallels to the Crimean and the Hawaiian situation, there are also important distinctions. Under international law, annexation is a unilateral act by an independent State, and a treaty of cession is a bilateral act between independent States. As a unilateral act, annexation is illegal under international law.
The Republic of Texas was established during the Mexican Revolution but it doesn’t mean the revolution was successful and that the Republic became an independent State. The revolution began on October 2, 1835, that included other provinces rebelling against the regime of President Antonio López de Santa Anna. The Republic of Texas was comprised of United States citizens and Tejanos (Hispanic Texans) who declared their independence on March 2, 1836. Four days later was the famed Battle of the Alamo. Although the Republic of Texas declared their independence their act was treasonous under Mexican law. It was still a part of Mexican territory, and the Republic was fighting Mexican troops through the 1840s. There was no treaty of peace whereby Mexico acknowledged the Republic of Texas as an independent State, and, therefore the revolution continued.
This was a different situation for the United States and when the thirteen colonies declared their independence on July 4, 1776. This act was a treasonous act under British law that triggered the American revolution. It did not transform the thirteen colonies into thirteen independent States. Like the Mexican revolution, battles were fought for seven years until there was a treaty of peace entered into between representatives of King George III and the representatives of the thirteen colonies calling themselves the United States under the Articles of Confederation. The treaty of peace was called the Treaty of Paris and it was signed on September 3, 1783. The treaty specifically acknowledged the former thirteen British colonies as independent States and Article 2 provided the boundaries of the new independent States. Article 1 stated:
His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and Independent States; that he treats with them as such, and for himself his Heirs & Successors, relinquishes all claims to the Government, Propriety, and Territorial Rights of the same and every Part thereof.
Article 2 of the Treaty of Paris regarding the boundaries states:
And that all Disputes which might arise in future on the subject of the Boundaries of the said United States may be prevented, it is hereby agreed and declared, that the following are and shall be their Boundaries, viz.; from the Northwest Angle of Nova Scotia, viz., that Angle which is formed by a Line drawn due North from the Source of St. Croix River to the Highlands; along the said Highlands which divide those Rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the northwesternmost Head of Connecticut River; Thence down along the middle of that River to the forty-fifth Degree of North Latitude; From thence by a Line due West on said Latitude until it strikes the River Iroquois or Cataraquy; Thence along the middle of said River into Lake Ontario; through the Middle of said Lake until it strikes the Communication by Water between that Lake & Lake Erie; Thence along the middle of said Communication into Lake Erie, through the middle of said Lake until it arrives at the Water Communication between that lake & Lake Huron; Thence along the middle of said Water Communication into the Lake Huron, thence through the middle of said Lake to the Water Communication between that Lake and Lake Superior; thence through Lake Superior Northward of the Isles Royal & Phelipeaux to the Long Lake; Thence through the middle of said Long Lake and the Water Communication between it & the Lake of the Woods, to the said Lake of the Woods; Thence through the said Lake to the most Northwestern Point thereof, and from thence on a due West Course to the river Mississippi; Thence by a Line to be drawn along the Middle of the said river Mississippi until it shall intersect the Northernmost Part of the thirty-first Degree of North Latitude, South, by a Line to be drawn due East from the Determination of the Line last mentioned in the Latitude of thirty-one Degrees of the Equator to the middle of the River Apalachicola or Catahouche; Thence along the middle thereof to its junction with the Flint River; Thence straight to the Head of Saint Mary’s River, and thence down along the middle of Saint Mary’s River to the Atlantic Ocean. East, by a Line to be drawn along the Middle of the river Saint Croix, from its Mouth in the Bay of Fundy to its Source, and from its Source directly North to the aforesaid Highlands, which divide the Rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from those which fall into the river Saint Lawrence; comprehending all Islands within twenty Leagues of any Part of the Shores of the United States, and lying between Lines to be drawn due East from the Points where the aforesaid Boundaries between Nova Scotia on the one Part and East Florida on the other shall, respectively, touch the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, excepting such Islands as now are or heretofore have been within the limits of the said Province of Nova Scotia.
Instead of a treaty whereby Mexico explicitly recognized the Republic of Texas as an independent State by a successful revolution and provided the boundaries of the new State, the Republic sought recognition from foreign States to include the United States in an attempt to circumvent the sovereign rights of Mexico and its territorial integrity. In March of 1837, the United States recognized the Republic of Texas but failed to annex the Republic by a treaty of cession. In 1840, Great Britain entered into a treaty with the Republic for trade purposes but did not recognize it as an independent State because it was still Mexican territory.
On March 1, 1845, the United States Congress enacted a Joint Resolution for annexing Texas to the United States. It stated that “Congress doth consent that the territory properly included within and rightfully belonging to the Republic of Texas may be erected into a new State, to be called the State of Texas, with a republican form of government, to be adopted by the people of said Republic, by deputies in convention assembled, with the consent of the existing government, in order that the same may be admitted as of the States of this Union.”
At issue, and was always the issue, were the boundaries of the Republic of Texas. A treaty of peace would have settled the boundaries, like the 1783 Treaty of Paris, but without a treaty the Republic of Texas had no formal boundaries. This was acknowledged in the joint resolution that stated “Said State to be formed, subject to the adjustment by this Government of all questions of boundary that may arise with other Governments.” That other government was Mexico.
This unilateral act, under international law, was the United States intervention in the internal affairs of Mexico, which is violation of international law, and triggered the Mexican-American War from 1846 to 1848. In the 1848 Peace Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the war, the new border between the United States and Mexico began from the Gulf of Mexico along the Rio Grande river, which is the southern border of the State of Texas, then by a surveyed boundary line that runs along the southern borders of what are now States of New Mexico, Arizona and California. Article V of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo states:
The boundary line between the two Republics shall commence in the Gulf of Mexico, three leagues from land, opposite the mouth of the Rio Grande, otherwise called Rio Bravo del Norte, or Opposite the mouth of its deepest branch, if it should have more than one branch emptying directly into the sea; from thence up the middle of that river, following the deepest channel, where it has more than one, to the point where it strikes the southern boundary of New Mexico; thence, westwardly, along the whole southern boundary of New Mexico (which runs north of the town called Paso) to its western termination; thence, northward, along the western line of New Mexico, until it intersects the first branch of the river Gila; (or if it should not intersect any branch of that river, then to the point on the said line nearest to such branch, and thence in a direct line to the same); thence down the middle of the said branch and of the said river, until it empties into the Rio Colorado; thence across the Rio Colorado, following the division line between Upper and Lower California, to the Pacific Ocean.
If Texas was annexed in 1845, then the boundary would not have begun from the Gulf of Mexico, but rather from the surveyed boundary line that would have begun from the mid-southern border of what is now the State of New Mexico, which is adjacent to the city of El Paso, Texas. From El Paso, the Rio Grande river goes north into the State of New Mexico. Texas had no territorial boundaries until Mexico ceded its territory north of the Rio Grande in 1848 and not in 1845.
The United States tends to view things retroactively. As an example, although the United States achieved its recognition from Great Britain in 1783, its history books say it achieved independence in 1776 when it declared it. Likewise, instead of the history books stating that Texas territory was acquired in 1848, it says Texas was annexed in 1845. Texas was never annexed in 1845 but rather acquired from Mexico in 1848.
In 1988, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) published a legal opinion regarding the annexation of Hawai‘i. The OLC’s memorandum opinion was 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 miles. The OLC concluded 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.” As Justice Marshall stated, “[t]he President is the sole organ of the nation in its external relations, and its sole representative with foreign nations,” and not the Congress.
The OLC also stated, “we doubt that Congress has constitutional authority to assert either sovereignty over an extended territorial sea or jurisdiction over it under international law on behalf of the United States.” The OLC then concluded that it is “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.”
That territorial sea referred to by the OLC was to be extended from three to twelve miles under the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention. In other words, the Congress could not extend the territorial sea an additional nine miles by statute because its authority was limited up to the three-mile limit. Furthermore, the United States Supreme Court, in The Apollon, concluded that the “laws of no nation can justly extend beyond its own territories.”
Arriving at this conclusion, the OLC cited constitutional scholar Professor Willoughby, “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.” Professor Willoughby also stated, “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.”
Like Crimea there is no treaty of cession whereby Ukraine ceded Crimea to Russia with its boundaries, and like Hawai‘i there is no treaty of cession whereby the Hawaiian Kingdom ceded the Hawaiian Islands to the United States with its boundaries. The question is who is the independent State with its rights under international law, and not an entity that has yet to achieve independence under international law.
By definition the word annexation is to add to one’s own territory by appropriation. Under international law, it is a unilateral act by one State as to territory of another State, which is why it is unlawful. According to The Handbook of Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts:
The international law of belligerent occupation must therefore be understood as meaning that the occupying power is not sovereign, but exercises provisional and temporary control over foreign territory. The legal situation of the territory can be altered only through a peace treaty or deballatio. International law does not permit annexation of territory of another State.
What is lawful under international law is cession whereby the ceding State transfers its territory to the acquiring State by a treaty. According to Professor Oppenheim:
Cession of State territory is the transfer of sovereignty over State territory by the owner-State to another State and the only form in which a cession can be effected is an agreement embodied in a treaty between the ceding and the acquiring State.
American examples of ceded lands are the 1807 Louisiana Purchase where France ceded its territory west of the Mississippi river to the United States and 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo where Mexico transferred its territory north of the Rio Grande river to the United States as part of a peace treaty.
The latest example of an unlawful annexation is when Russia annexed Crimea after its invasion in 2014. Ukraine, which Crimea is a part of its territory, did not cede its territory to Russia by a treaty. Under international law, the annexation of Crimea is unlawful. There is no reason to say unlawful about the Russian annexation because it is inherently unlawful under international law.
Watch the Hawaiian Society of Law & Politics‘ Symposium showcasing the “Royal Commission of Inquiry – Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom” held at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa on February 11, 2023. This half-day symposium, in collaboration with the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the National Lawyers Guild, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Native Hawaiian Student Services, and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Education, featured experts in the fields of international law, international relations, international criminal law and war crimes, and Hawaiian Kingdom law on the topic of the American occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since January 17, 1893. Part 2 of the presentation ends with a celebration of Aloha ʻĀina (Hawaiian patriotism) through mele (song) by well known Hawaiian entertainers and musicians.
The presentations stem from the three presenters’ articles published in the Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics: Professor William Schabas, “Legal Opinion on War Crimes Related to the United States Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since 17 January 1893;” Professor Federico Lenzerini, “Legal Opinion on the Authority of the Council of Regency of the Hawaiian Kingdom;” and Dr. David Keanu Sai, “The Royal Commission of Inquiry.”
Originally posted on August 31, 2018. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, “The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols form the core of international humanitarian law, which regulates the conduct of armed conflict and seeks to limit its effects. They protect people not taking part in hostilities and those who are no longer doing so.” Coverage of the Geneva Conventions also apply to occupied territories where there is no actual fighting. Amnesty International defines war crimes as “crimes that violate the laws or customs of war defined by the Geneva and Hague Conventions.”
Internationally, “protected persons” is a legal term under international humanitarian law that refers to specific protections afforded to civilians in occupied territory whose rights are protected under the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV, and its Additional Protocol. According to Article 4 of the Geneva Convention:
“Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.”
Under this definition, civilians who possess the nationality of the occupying State while they reside in the territory of the occupied State are not protected under the Geneva Convention. Article 147 of the Geneva Convention provides a list of grave breaches, called war crimes, which would apply to protected persons as defined under Article 4.
“Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the present Convention: wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a [occupying] Power, or wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention, taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”
The relevant grave breaches and explanations that would apply to the American occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom can be found in paragraphs 190 through 205 of the Emergency Petition for Writ of Mandamus filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. If you are a protected person whose situation would fall under one of the explanatory paragraphs in the mandamus, a grave breach or war crime may have been committed against you.
Fifty years later, however, this definition of a protected persons was expanded to include the citizenry of the occupying State. This was an evolution of international criminal law ushered in by the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The case was the prosecution and conviction of Duško Tadić who was a Bosnian Serb. After being arrested in Germany in 1994, he faced among other counts, twelve counts of grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV. On May 7, 1997, he was convicted by the trial court on 11 counts but did not include the counts of grave breaches of the Geneva Convention.
In paragraph 608 of its judgment, the trial court found that Tadic was not guilty of 11 counts of grave breaches because the civilian victims possessed the same Yugoslavian citizenship as Tadic who represented the occupying Power in the war. The prosecutors appealed this decision and it was not only reversed by the Appeal Chamber of the ICTY, but it also expanded the definition of protected persons in occupied territory under international humanitarian law.
In its judgment in 1999, the Appeals Chamber concluded:
“[The] primary purpose [of Article 4] is to ensure the safeguards afforded by the [Geneva] Convention to those civilians who do not enjoy the diplomatic protection, and correlatively are not subject to the allegiance and control, of the State in whose hands they may find themselves. In granting its protection, Article 4 intends to look to the substance of relations, not their legal characterisation as such. … Hence, even if in the circumstances of the case the perpetrators and the victim were to be regarded as possessing the same nationality, Article 4 [Geneva Convention] would still be applicable.” Tadic, ICTY Appeals Chamber, Judgment (1999), para. 168 and 169.
This is an important evolution in international criminal law and has a profound impact on the occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Up until 1999, protected persons in the Hawaiian Islands excluded American citizens. But since 1999, the Tadic case has expanded protection to citizens of the occupying State who reside in the territory of an occupied State. The operative word is no longer nationality or citizenship, but rather allegiance that would apply to all persons in an occupied State. This is not to be confused with an oath of allegiance, but rather the law of allegiance that applies over everyone whether they signed an oath or not. Hawaiian law only requires an oath of allegiance for government employees.
Under Hawaiian Kingdom law there is specific wording that covers allegiance. It is found in the Hawaiian Penal Code under sections 2 and 3 of Chapter VI for the crime of treason.
“Allegiance is the obedience and fidelity due to the kingdom from those under its protection. … An alien, whether his native country be at war or at peace with this kingdom, owes allegiance to this kingdom during his residence therein, and during such residence, is capable of committing treason against this kingdom.”
By expanding the scope and application of protected persons to American citizens residing in the Hawaiian Kingdom, they, along with all other nationalities of foreign States as well as Hawaiian subjects, are afforded equal protection under the Geneva Convention and can be considered victims of grave breaches or war crimes committed against them by American citizens in violation of the Hague and Geneva Conventions.