Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden: Federal Judge Acknowledges the Hawaiian Kingdom Continues to Exist under International Law

It the latest filing of a Minute Order on April 19, 2022, in the federal lawsuit, Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden, U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi denied the Hawaiian Kingdom’s Motion for Reconsideration, but simultaneously acknowledged the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State under international law.

Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi

In its Motion for Reconsideration, the Hawaiian Kingdom was addressing Judge Kobayashi’s terse statement in two previous Orders that “there is no factual (or legal basis) for concluding that the [Hawaiian] Kingdom exists as a state in accordance with recognized attributes of a state’s sovereign nature.” This statement runs counter to international law where an international rule exists regarding the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State despite the United States admitted illegal overthrow of its government on January 17, 1893. She provided no evidence to back up her one line statement.

Under international law, according to Judge James Crawford, there “is a presumption that the State continues to exist, with its rights and obligations despite a period in which there is no effective, government,” and that belligerent “occupation does not affect the continuity of the State, even where there exists no government claiming to represent the occupied State.”

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, a “presumption is a rule of law, statutory or judicial, by which finding of a basic fact gives rise to existence of presumed fact, until presumption is rebutted.” In other words, presumption is a rule of international law where a recognized independent State is a basic fact that gives rise to the existence of a presumed fact, which is its continued existence until this presumed fact is rebutted with evidence. Evidence that would show the Hawaiian Kingdom “does not” continue to exist under international law is where the Hawaiian Kingdom transferred its sovereignty and territory to the United States by a treaty.

The presumption of innocence works the same as the presumption of continuity because the burden to disprove the presumption lies with the opposing party. In a criminal trial, the defendant does not have the burden to “prove” his or her innocence, but rather it is the burden of the prosecutor to “disprove” the innocence with rebuttable evidence. Likewise, the Hawaiian Kingdom does not have the burden to “prove” its continued existence, but rather it is the burden of the United States to “disprove” the Hawaiian Kingdom’s continued existence with rebuttable evidence under international law.

Like the presumption of innocence, the presumption of continuity has a much more significant role in legal or court proceedings because it is evidence based as opposed to political venues that rely on power and rhetoric. In a court proceeding, the presumption rule is the cornerstone of the rule of law and the basis for a fair trial.

As Professor Matthew Craven explains, “If one were to speak about a presumption of continuity, one would suppose that an obligation would lie upon the party opposing that continuity to establish the facts sustaining its rebuttal. The continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom, in other words, may be refuted only by reference to a valid demonstration of legal rights, or sovereignty, on the part of the United States, absent of which the presumption remains.” According to Craven, only by the Hawaiian Kingdom’s “incorporation, union, or submission” to the United States, which is by treaty, can the presumption of continuity be rebutted.

There is no treaty, but rather a Congressional joint resolution of annexation that was signed into U.S. law on July 7, 1898, by President William McKinley. The problem is that a joint resolution is not a treaty but rather a United States municipal law that has no effect beyond the borders of the United States. Ninety years later, in 1988, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, in a legal opinion, 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. It is therefore unclear which constitutional power of Congress exercised when it acquired Hawaii by joint resolution.”

Judge Kobayashi, in her latest Order, did not deny the customary international rule of the presumption of continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign and independent State as was fully explained in the Hawaiian Kingdom’s Motion for Reconsideration. She also did not provide any rebuttable evidence to the presumption of continuity that the Hawaiian Kingdom was extinguished as a State under international law. As the U.S. Supreme Court stated, in The Paquette Habana, 175 U.S. 677, 700 (1900) “International law is part of our law, and must be ascertained and administered by the courts of justice of appropriate jurisdiction as often as questions of right depending upon it are duly presented for their determination.”

In her Order, Judge Kobayashi disregarded international law and simply stated, “Although Plaintiff argues there are manifest errors of law in the 3/30/22 Order and the 3/31/22 Order, Plaintiff merely disagrees with the Court’s decision.” This is analogous to a defense attorney asking the presiding judge to set aside the judgment against the defendant because the prosecutor provided no evidence in trial rebutting the presumption of innocence. And the judge simply responded, “Defendant merely disagrees with the Court’s decision.” Despite the unlawfulness of such a judgment, the Defendant is still innocent.

More significantly though, in these proceedings, is that this cavalier statement by Judge Kobayashi neither denied the international rule of the presumption of continuity nor did she provide any rebuttable evidence that the Hawaiian Kingdom does not continue to exist. This is also a difficult task for Judge Kobayashi because the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, previously acknowledged the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a “State” as shown in its case repository.

Consequently, by not providing any rebuttable evidence, i.e., a treaty, Judge Kobayashi acknowledged the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign and independent State and yet disregarded her obligation under international law to transform the Court into an Article II Occupation Court.

In order to preserve the statements made by Judge Kobayashi and the defendants United States and the Swedish Consul, as well as the default entered by the Clerk for the State of Hawai‘i, to include Governor David Ige, Securities Commissioner Ty Nohara, and Director of the Department of Taxation Isaac Choy, and the twelve foreign Consulates also named as defendants in the case, which include Austria, Belgium, Chile, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, South Korea, Spain, and Thailand, the Hawaiian Kingdom filed a Notice of Appeal today with the Court. In its opening paragraph, the Hawaiian Kingdom stated:

TO THE COURT AND TO ALL PARTIES HEREIN:

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that Plaintiff HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, hereby preserves the record of these proceedings by its notice to appeal to a competent court of appeals to be hereafter established in the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States as an Occupying Power in accordance with international humanitarian law from the Order granting in part and denying in part Defendant Nervell’s Motion to Dismiss [ECF 222], Order denying Plaintiff’s Motion for Judicial Notice [ECF 223], and Minute Order denying Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration and Motion to Amend [ECF 227].

In its Notice of Appeal, the Hawaiian Kingdom addressed the lack of fairness by the federal Court and the legal consequences of Judge Kobayashi’s actions that constitute the war crime of “willfully” depriving the Hawaiian Kingdom of its “rights of fair and regular trial” guaranteed in the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention. Grave breaches are war crimes that have been codified under federal criminal law in Title 18 U.S. Code §2441(c)(1).

Although the “Occupying Power is […] free to decide whether or not the competent courts of appeal are to sit in occupied territory,” Article 66 of the Fourth Geneva Convention “states that they should ‘preferably’ sit in the occupied country; this would be likely to provide the protected persons with additional safeguards.” See Jean S. Pictet, Commentary IV Geneva Convention (1958), 341. The United States has not established “competent courts of appeal” in the Hawaiian Kingdom or in the United States to address the Hawaiian Kingdom’s instant appeal.

Consequently, the Court’s disregard of obligations mandated under international law, in its refusal to transform, and the inability of Plaintiff to appeal to an Article II appellate court has willfully deprived Plaintiff of its “rights of fair and regular trial,” thus being a “grave breach” of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 147, 6.3 U.S.T. 3516, 3618 (1955); 18 U.S.C. §2441(c)(1).

The Hawaiian Kingdom concluded in its Notice of Appeal:

This Court was not “established and organized in accordance with the laws and procedures already in force” in the Hawaiian Kingdom, nor “in accordance with the recognized principles governing the administration of justice.”  Accordingly, the Hawaiian Kingdom’s notice of appeal is submitted for purposes of preserving the record of these proceedings in its appeal until this Court transforms or a competent Article II appellate court is established in compliance with international humanitarian law and Hawaiian Kingdom law.

The Court can learn from the Hawaiian Kingdom Supreme Court, in Shillaber v. Waldo et al., 1 Haw. 31, 32 (1848), where Chief Justice William Lee stated, “In the language of another, ‘Let justice be done though the heavens fall.’ Let the laws be obeyed, though it ruin every judicial and executive officer in the Kingdom. Courts may err. Clerks may err. Marshals may err—they do err in every land daily; but when they err let them correct their errors without consulting pride, expediency, or any other consequences.”

POINT OF CLARIFICATION: The Hawaiian Kingdom is not appealing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals because it is an Article III Court situated within the territory of the United States. If the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i was operating lawfully as an Article III Court, an appeal would be made with the 9th Circuit. However, this Court is not lawfully operating, and therefore the Hawaiian Kingdom is appealing to an Article II Appellate Court that has yet to be established. The purpose of the Notice of Appeal is also to preserve the record of these proceedings until either this Court transforms itself into an Article II Occupation Court or until the United States establishes Article II Appellate Courts.

The 800-pound Gorilla in the Federal Court: Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden

Since these proceedings were initiated 11 months ago with the filing of the initial complaint on May 20, 2021, Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden, and then the filing of the amended complaint on August 11, 2021, there was always the “800-pound gorilla in the room” that the Court did not want to directly address until last week.

That gorilla was the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign and independent State despite the unlawful overthrow of the Hawaiian government by the United States on January 17, 1893, and being belligerently occupied by the United States for over a century. If the gorilla exists, the Court can only exist as an Article II Court under international law operating in an occupied country. If the gorilla doesn’t exist, then the Court continues to exist as an Article III Court under United States law.

The amicus brief filed by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Water Protectors Legal Collective explained why the Court’s present status as an Article III Court is unlawful because it is situated within the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom and not the United States. As such, it must transform itself into an Article II Occupation Court.

Neither Magistrate Judge Rom Trader nor District Judge Leslie Kobayashi directly addressed the 800-pound gorilla until Judge Kobayashi issued the first Order on March 30, 2022, partially granting a motion to dismiss filed by Nervell, as the Swedish Honorary Consul to Hawai‘i. In her Order Judge Kobayashi stated:

Plaintiff argues that “[b]efore the Court can address the substance of [Nervell’s] motion to dismiss it must first transform itself into an Article II Court…” Plaintiff bases this argument on the proposition that the Hawaiian Kingdom is a sovereign and independent state. This district has uniformly rejected such a proposition. “‘[T]here is no factual (or legal basis) for concluding that the [Hawaiian] Kingdom exists as a state in accordance with recognized attributes of a state’s sovereign nature.’” Plaintiff’s request for the Court to “transform itself into an Article II Court” is therefore denied.

The Court admits that it could “transform itself into an Article II Court” but for “concluding that the [Hawaiian] Kingdom” does not exist as a State it could not. Conversely, if the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as a State, the Court will then “transform itself into an Article II Court.”

The Court later noted that “Plaintiff asserts its claim against Nervell in his official capacity as Honorary Consul of Sweden to Hawai‘i. Nervell argues that, because Plaintiff’s claim is against him in his official capacity, the Court does not possess jurisdiction over him, pursuant to the Vienna Convention. The Court agrees.” The Hawaiian Kingdom at no time in these proceedings denied Sweden’s appointment of Defendant Nervell as the Honorary Consul of Sweden to Hawai‘i. Rather, the Hawaiian Kingdom’s position was that Defendant Nervell held an inchoate title as Honorary Consul because he did not receive his exequatur from the Hawaiian Foreign Ministry by virtue of Article XII of the 1852 Hawaiian-Swedish Treaty. Without accreditation by the Hawaiian Kingdom, Defendant Nervell cannot claim any “official capacity” under the Vienna Convention. Also, Defendant Nervell never provided evidence that the 1852 Hawaiian-Swedish Treaty was replaced by the 1793 United States-Swedish Treaty.

On March 31, 2022, the Court issued its second Order Denying Plaintiff’s Motion for Judicial Notice. The basis of the denial was the same in its previous Order that “‘there is no factual (or legal) basis for concluding that the [Hawaiian] Kingdom exists as a state in accordance with recognized attributes of a state’s sovereign nature,” and, therefore, “the Ninth Circuit, this district court, and Hawai‘i state courts have all held that the laws of the United States and the State of Hawai‘i apply to all individuals in this State.”

Conversely, if the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as a State, all “laws of the United States and the State of Hawai‘i” do not apply within the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Judge Kobayashi initiated a legal dialogue with the 800-pound gorilla—the Hawaiian Kingdom.

The two Orders are not final, and according to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Hawaiian Kingdom, as the gorilla in this case, is given an opportunity to respond to the position taken by Judge Kobayashi that the gorilla doesn’t exist.

Last night, April 7, 2022, the Hawaiian Kingdom filed a Motion for Reconsideration that explained why both Orders violate international law and the American doctrine of separation of powers.

In both Orders, Judge Kobayashi, by a general verdict, denies the existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign and independent State. She cites U.S. Bank Tr., N.A. v. Fonoti, but provided no evidence or reasoning of the Court’s rejection of the continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State. The Fonoti decision directly cites a State of Hawai‘i case—State v. French, where the State of Hawai‘i appeals court stated, “this particular kind of claim was rejected in State v. Lorenzo, which held that presently there ‘is no factual (or legal) basis for concluding that the [Hawaiian] Kingdom exists as a state in accordance with recognized attributes of a state’s sovereign nature.”

But Judge Kobayashi’s Order omitted the word “presently” that precedes “there is no factual (or legal basis) for concluding that the Hawaiian Kingdom exists as a state.” This would be misleading because it would appear that the Order was conclusive by merely leaving the word “presently” out of the Order. In State of Hawai‘i v. Lorenzo, the appellate court explained its use of the word “presently,” because “it was incumbent on Defendant to present evidence supporting his claim,” and that “Lorenzo has presented no factual (or legal) basis for concluding that the Kingdom exists as a state in accordance with recognized attributes of a state’s sovereign nature.”

In other words, the reason why the Lorenzo Court used “presently” was because Lorenzo did not “present evidence supporting his claim.” The Lorenzo court did not foreclose the question but rather provided, what it saw at the time, instruction for the Court to arrive at the conclusion that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as a State based on evidence provided to the Court. The Lorenzo Court placed the burden of proof that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist on the Defendant. The Lorenzo Court, however, acknowledged that its “rationale is open to question in light of international law.”

Because international law provides for the presumption of the continuity of the State despite the overthrow of its government by another State, it shifts the burden of proof. According to Judge Crawford, “there is a presumption that the State continues to exist, with its rights and obligations despite a period in which there no effective government.” He also stated that “belligerent occupation does not affect the continuity of the State, even where there exists no government claiming to represent the occupied State.” In other words, the Hawaiian Kingdom would continue to exist as a State despite the American military overthrow of the Hawaiian government on January 17, 1893.

According to Professor Craven, “If one were to speak about a presumption of continuity, one would suppose that an obligation would lie upon the party opposing that continuity to establish the facts substantiating its rebuttal. The continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom, in other words, may be refuted only by reference to a valid demonstration of legal title, or sovereignty, on the part of the United States, absent of which the presumption remains.”

The “presumption of continuity of a State” is similar to the “presumption of innocence.” A person on trial does not have the burden to prove their innocence. Rather, the prosecutor has to prove beyond all reasonable doubt the guilt of the person. Without proof of guilt, the person remains innocent. In international law, a recognized sovereign and independent State does not have the burden to prove it continues be a State after being belligerently occupied for over a century. Rather, the opposing State has to prove with evidence under international law that the State was extinguished. Absent the evidence, the State continues to exist.

Therefore, the Lorenzo Court’s placing of the burden on the Defendant is misplaced because international law places the burden “on the party opposing that continuity to establish the facts substantiating its rebuttal.” The only fact the Defendant would need to provide is evidence that the United States recognized the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State, which would be the 1849 Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation. Judge Kobayashi provided no rebuttable evidence of facts in its Orders that the Hawaiian Kingdom was extinguished in accordance with international law. She just stated, without evidence, there is no 800-pound gorilla, but yet she’s in dialogue with that gorilla.

In these proceedings, the Hawaiian Kingdom provided factual evidence of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s continued existence where the Permanent Court Arbitration, in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom (1999-2001), acknowledged the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State.

Additional factual basis of “continuity” includes the delivering of an oral statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 22, 2022, by Dr. David Keanu Sai, as Minister of Foreign Affairs ad interim. Dr. Sai was accredited by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for his statement. Dr. Sai stated to the Human Rights Council, in Geneva, Switzerland:

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the American Association of Jurists call the attention of the Council to human rights violations in the Hawaiian Islands. My name is Dr. David Keanu Sai, and I am the Minister of Foreign Affairs ad interim for the Hawaiian Kingdom. I also served as lead agent for the Hawaiian Kingdom at the Permanent Court of Arbitration from 1999-2001 where the Court acknowledged the continued existence of my country as a sovereign and independent State.

The Hawaiian Kingdom was invaded by the United States on 16 January 1893, which began its century long occupation to serve its military interests. Currently, there are 118 military sites throughout the islands and the city of Honolulu serves as the headquarters for the Indo-Pacific Combatant Command.

For the past century, the United States has and continues to commit the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty, under customary international law, by imposing its municipal laws over Hawaiian territory, which has denied Hawaiian subjects their right of internal self-determination by prohibiting them to freely access their own laws and administrative policies, which has led to the violations of their human rights, starting with the right to health, education and to choose their political leadership.

The United States, who is a member State of the Human Rights Council, did not object to Dr. Sai’s statement that “the United States has and continues to commit the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty, under customary international law, by imposing its municipal laws over Hawaiian territory,” thereby, acquiescing to the Hawaiian Kingdom’s continued existence as a State and the United States commission of the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty.

According to the International Court of Justice, in the Case concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand), acquiescence “concerns a consent tacitly conveyed by a State, unilaterally, through silence or inaction, in circumstance such that a response expressing disagreement or objection in relation to the conduct of another State would be called for.” According to Professor MacGibbon, under international law, the “function of acquiescence may be equated with that of consent,” whereby the “primary purpose of acquiescence is evidential; but its value lies mainly in the fact that it serves as a form of recognition of legality and condonation of illegality and provides a criterion which is both objective and practical.”

The failure of the United States to disagree or object to the Hawaiian Kingdom being acknowledged as a State by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and its failure to disagree or object to the statement to the Human Rights Council regarding the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty are official acts by the United States under customary international law. War crimes can only be committed in an international armed conflict between two or more States, and, therefore, the United States acquiescence are official acts that bind Judge Kobayashi. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Williams v. Suffolk Insurance Co., stated, “when the executive branch of the government, which is charged with our foreign relations assumes a fact it is conclusive on the judicial department.”

United States President John Tyler, by letter of Secretary of State John C. Calhoun on July 6, 1844, to Hawaiian officials, recognized the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign and independent State. And on December 20, 1849, the United States entered into a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation with the Hawaiian Kingdom and maintained a Legation (Embassy) in Honolulu and Consulates throughout the islands.

In its filings, the United States has not provided any rebuttable evidence, whether factual or legal, that the Hawaiian Kingdom was extinguished as a State under international law. Rather it claimed that “the United States annexed Hawaii in 1898 and Hawaii entered the union as a state in 1959.” Both the 1898 Joint Resolution of annexation and the 1959 Hawai‘i Admission Act are municipal laws and, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, in The Apollon, these laws cannot “extend beyond its territory except so far as regards its citizens. They can have no force to control the sovereignty or rights of any other nation within its own jurisdiction.”

The U.S. Supreme Court also stated, in United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., that “neither the Constitution nor the laws passed in pursuance of it have any force in foreign territory unless in respect of our own citizens, and operations of the nation in such territory must be governed by treaties, international understandings and compacts, and the principles of international law.” In 1988, the U.S. Department of Justice, in a legal opinion titled, “Legal Issues Raised by Proposed Presidential Proclamation To Extend the Territorial Sea,” it stated that “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 Department of Justice also concluded, “It is therefore unclear which constitutional power of Congress exercised when it acquired Hawaii by joint resolution.”

Under international law, the imposition of United States municipal laws violates the territorial integrity of the Hawaiian Kingdom and would constitute the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty under international law. According to Professor Schabas, the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty is where the “perpetrator imposed or applied legislative or administrative measures of the occupying power going beyond those required by what is necessary for military purposes of the occupation.” In these proceedings, the United States’ reliance on its municipal laws is an admission of the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty.

On the topic of separation of powers, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Airports Auth. v. Citizens for Noise Abatement, explained, “the structure of our Government as conceived by the Framers of our Constitution disperses the federal power among the three branches—the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial—placing both substantive and procedural limitations on each. The ultimate purpose of this separation of powers is to protect the liberty and security of the governed.” Professor Merrill explains that “because every federal office must be located ‘in’ one of the three branches, each office is subject to whatever specific constitutional limitations apply to action by its branch.”

In United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., the U.S. Supreme Court stated, “the President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate; but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it.” Like the Congress, the judicial branch “is powerless to invade” the executive branch. The judicial branch is the arbiter of facts and law. It is not charged with foreign relations.

Judge Kobayashi’s two Orders not only violate international law but also the American doctrine of the separation of powers between the three branches of government. The President cannot act as a judge and a judge cannot act as a President who is in charge of foreign relations. In other words, Judge Kobayashi’s two Orders declaring the Hawaiian Kingdom does not exist without providing any evidence is a violation of the separation of powers doctrine. She’s supposed to provide evidence that the executive branch, not the judicial branch, extinguished the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State under international law.

The Hawaiian Kingdom, as the 800-pound gorilla, has now placed the burden on Judge Kobayashi to show evidence of a factual or legal basis that it doesn’t exist. Under Rule 52(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court is required to write “findings of fact and conclusions of law” as to why the gorilla doesn’t exist or why the gorilla does exist. If the gorilla does exist, Judge Kobayashi will have to change the two Orders and transform the Court into an Article II Occupation Court that administers Hawaiian Kingdom law and the international law of occupation.

War Crimes: Russian Invasion of Ukraine and the American Invasion of the Hawaiian Kingdom

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has highlighted certain rules or norms of international law. These rules of international law include the independence of countries or States that gives rise to sovereignty, which is defined as the “supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power by which an independent state is governed.” The terms country and State are interchangeable. Ukraine became an independent State on August 24, 1991, after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The Hawaiian Kingdom became an independent State on November 28, 1843.

In the 1928 Island of Palmas case (Netherlands – United States of America), the sole-arbitrator, Max Huber, stated, “Sovereignty in the relations between States signifies independence. Independence in regard to a portion of the globe is the right to exercise therein, to the exclusion of any other State, the functions of a State.”

This rule springs another rule of international law, which is the duty of non-intervention by other States in a State’s internal affairs because of a State’s territorial integrity. These rules are foundational for the international system to operate, and because of this they are considered peremptory norms, also called jus cogens, that cannot be derogated or disparaged. To violate these rules is an internationally wrongful act.

When Russia invaded Ukraine it violated these rules of international law and transformed the state of affairs from a state of peace to a state of war. According to Judge Christopher Greenwood, “Traditional international law was based upon a rigid distinction between the state of peace and the state of war.” This separation provides the proper context by which certain rules of international law would or would not apply. The laws or war, which is also called international humanitarian law, are not applicable in a state of peace. Inherent in the rules of international humanitarian law is the co-existence of two States being that of the invading State and that of the invaded State.

War is regulated by international humanitarian law called the 1907 Hague Regulations, the 1949 Geneva Conventions, as well as customary international law. Since the latter part of the nineteenth century, violations of international humanitarian law could amount to war crimes, which are committed by individuals acting on behalf of a State and not by the government of the State as a whole. In the words of the International Military Tribunal, “crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced.” War crimes have no statute of limitations.

While hostilities are taking place between Russian and Ukrainian forces there are certain rules of international humanitarian that would amount to war crimes committed against the civilian population. These war crimes include:

Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities;

Intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, objects which are not military objectives;

Intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as long as they are entitled to the protection given to civilians or civilian objects under the international law of armed conflict; and

Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated.

It would appear from recent news coverage that Russian forces are committing war crimes against the civilian population of Ukraine who pose no threat to the invading forces. The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has recently launched an investigation of war crimes committed by Russian forces. The ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan stated, “it is clear…directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects amounts to a war crime.” Although Russia and Ukraine are not State parties to the Rome Statute that would have authorized the ICC to investigate war crimes, the ICC was prompted to investigate by a referral of thirty-nine States that are State parties to the Rome Statute.

Should hostilities cease and certain portions of the territory of Ukraine should come under the effective control of Russian forces, international humanitarian law transforms the situation into belligerent occupation and the occupying State must continue to protect the civilian population who reside within the occupied territory. Should Russia be in effective control of territory, it will trigger the law of occupation where Russian forces are obligated to administer the laws of the Ukraine. This rule of international law would continue until the occupation comes to an end when Russian forces leave Ukrainian territory. As professor Ian Brownlie wrote:

Thus after the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War the four major Allied powers assumed supreme power in Germany. The legal competence of the German state [its independence and sovereignty] did not, however, disappear. What occurred is akin to legal representation or agency of necessity. The German state continued to exist, and, indeed, the legal basis of the occupation depended on its continued existence.”

War crimes committed during belligerent occupation against the civilian population include what are called “grave breaches” that are listed under Article 147 of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.

Grave breaches…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 hostile 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.

Along with the list of war crimes as “grave breaches,” there are war crimes that are listed under customary international law. In chapter three of the ebook Royal Commission of Inquiry: Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom, Professor William Schabas provides a list of war crimes, under customary international law, committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom. These include:

war crime of usurpation of sovereignty during occupation;

war crime of compulsory enlistment;

war crime of denationalization;

war crime of pillage;

war crime of confiscation or destruction of property;

war crime of deprivation of fair and regular trial;

war crime of deporting civilians of the occupied territory; and

war crime of transferring populations into an occupied territory.

When United States forces invaded the Hawaiian Kingdom on January 16, 1893, they initiated the state of war between the United States and the Hawaiian Kingdom. Hostilities would only last until the following day when Queen Lili‘uokalani signed a conditional surrender to the United States. She stated:

I, Lili‘uokalani, by the Grace of God, and under the Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the constitutional Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and for this Kingdom.

That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America whose Minister Plenipotentiary, His Excellency John L. Stevens, has caused United States troops to be landed at Honolulu and declared that he would support the said Provisional Government.

Now to avoid any collision of armed forces, and perhaps the loss of life, I do this under protest, and impelled by said force yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representative and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.

Done at Honolulu this 17th day of January, A.D. 1893.

Lili‘uokalani, R.
Samuel Parker, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Wm. H. Cornwell, Minister of Finance.
John. F. Colburn, Minister of the Interior.
A.P. Peterson, Attorney General.

After completing an investigation, President Grover Cleveland notified the Congress:

And so it happened that on the 16th day of January, 1893, between four and five o’clock in the afternoon, a detachment of marines from the United States steamer, Boston, with two pieces of artillery, landed at Honolulu. The men, upwards of 160 in all, were supplied with double cartridge belts filled with ammunition and with haversacks and canteens, and were accompanied by a hospital corps with stretchers and medical supplies. This military demonstration upon the soil of Honolulu was of itself an act of war, unless made either with the consent of the Government of Hawaii or for the bona fide purpose of protecting the imperilled lives and property of citizens of the United States. But there is no pretense of any such consent on the part of the Government of the Queen, which at the time was undisputed and was both the de factor and the de jure government. In point of fact the existing government instead of requesting the presence of an armed force protested against it. There is little basis for the pretense that such forces were landed for the security of American life and property. If so, they would have been stationed in the vicinity of such property and so as to protect it, instead of at a distance and so as to command the Hawaiian Government building and palace. Admiral Skerrett, the officer in command of our naval force on the Pacific station, has frankly stated that in his opinion the location of the troops was inadvisable if they were landed for the protection of American citizens whose residences and places of business, as well as the legation and consulate, were in a distant part of the city, but the location selected was a wise one if the forces were landed for the purpose of supporting the provisional government. If any peril to life and property calling for any such martial array had existed, Great Britain and other foreign powers interested would not have been behind the United States in activity to protect their citizens. But they made no sign in that direction. When these armed men were landed, the city of Honolulu was in its customary orderly and peaceful condition. There was no symptom of riot or disturbance in any quarter. Men, women, and children were about the streets as usual, and nothing varied the ordinary routine or disturbed the ordinary tranquillity, except the landing of the Boston’s marines and their march through the town to the quarters assigned them. Indeed, the fact that after having called for the landing of the United States forces on the plea of danger to life and property the Committee of Safety themselves requested [US] Minister [John Stevens] to postpone action, exposed the untruthfulness of their representations of present peril to life and property. The peril they saw was an anticipation growing out of guilty intentions on their part and something which, though not then existing, they knew would certainly follow their attempt to overthrow the Government of the Queen without the aid of the United States forces.

From this date, the United States was in effective control of Hawaiian territory and international humanitarian law at the time obligated the United States to administer the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Instead of complying with international humanitarian law, the United States unilaterally seized the Hawaiian Islands and transformed it into a military outpost to protect the United States from its adversaries. Since 1898, the United States has committed the war crime of “usurpation of sovereignty,” which is the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws over the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom. This imposition of American laws is what caused the commission of the other war crimes identified by Professor Schabas.

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed Russian troops were being sent into Ukraine to protect people who were subjected to bullying and genocide and that Russia was aiming for the “demilitarization and de-Nazification” of Ukraine. The BBC reported, “There has been no genocide in Ukraine: it is a vibrant democracy, led by a president who is Jewish.”

It would appear that Russia’s justification is not credible, just as the United States justification for the invasion of the Hawaiian Kingdom was not credible as well. The difference, however, is that President Cleveland, who was President of the invading force, completed a presidential investigation and acknowledged that the invasion was “illegal” under international law. Consequently, there is no need for an investigation into the invasion and unlawful overthrow of the Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Rather, the issue is the United States non-compliance with international humanitarian law for over a century, which has led to the commission of war crimes and human rights violations.

The restored government of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the Council of Regency, brought this to the attention by a diplomatic note to the foreign embassies accredited to the United Nations in New York City. This information was also brought to the attention of the foreign embassies in both New York City and Geneva by a joint letter from the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the American Association of Jurists—Asociación Americana de Juristas, both of whom have consultative status with the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Authors of Amicus Brief Request Judge to Permit the Filing of Joint IADL-AAJ Letter to UN Ambassadors on the Illegal Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom

Today the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the Water Protectors Legal Collective (WPLC), who the authors of the amicus brief as to why the court must transform itself into an Article II Occupation Court in Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden, filed a Motion for Leave to File a Letter Supplement to Amended Amicus Curiae Brief.

Attached to the Motion is a copy of the  joint letter by the IADL and the American Association of Jurists—Asociación Americana de Juristas, sent to all the Embassies accredited to the United Nations in New York City and in Geneva on February 16, 2022.

In their Motion, the IADL-NLG-WPLC state, “Movants wish to supplement their amicus brief with a letter, dated February 16, 2022, from two international organizations with special consultative status with the U.N. Economic and Social Council and accredited before the Human Rights Council—the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the American Association of Jurists—which was sent to all Permanent Missions to the United Nations in New York City and Geneva, Switzerland. The letter addresses the ongoing illegal occupation of Hawai‘i under international law and will be presented before the United Nations Human Rights Council at its 49th session in Geneva beginning on February 28, 2022.”

They also state “The letter is provided for informational purposes to the Court and to provide additional context for the urgent and serious issues raised by this case, which are also the current subject of discussion in international forums.”

The Court will have to grant permission for the filing of the joint letter so that it becomes a part of the record. The decision by the judge is forthcoming.

UPDATE: Last night, Magistrate Judge Rom Trader entered an order denying the IADL-NLG-WPLC’s request to file the IADL-AAJ joint letter. The Court stated, “The letter is not being submitted in support of any moving papers, not all drafters of the letter have been approved as amicus, and the movants do not provide any concrete information as to why the letter is even needed.”

As the IADL-NLG-WPLC did state in its motion, “The letter is provided for informational purposes to the Court and to provide additional context for the urgent and serious issues raised by this case, which are also the current subject of discussion in international forums.”

Aside from the procedural matters as stated by Judge Trader, the letter, for informational purposes, can be accessed by the defendants in this case. The Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden lawsuit is a case of first impression where proceedings are taking place during a prolonged belligerent occupation by the United States outside of its territory. “In a case of first impression, the exact issue before the court has not been addressed by that court, or within that court’s jurisdiction, thus there is no binding authority on that matter.” The letter provides “additional context.”

Putin Warns US and NATO Countries of Nuclear Attack: Island of O‘ahu Targeted for Nuclear Strike

Yesterday, Russian forces invaded Ukraine from the north, east and south. Russian President Vladimir Putin justified the invasion as a response to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) coming too close to Russia’s borders. According to the U.S. State Department, NATO “was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union.” After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has taken the mantle of the former Soviet Union and maintains a very large military force and nuclear weapons. Former Soviet States to the west of Russia became members of NATO with the exception of Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia.

Map of NATO expansion since 1949 – Wikipedia

Russia views the encroachment of NATO to its western border as a security threat. In a speech after meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on February 7, 2022, Putin stated “Of course NATO and Russia potentials are incompatible” and warns of nuclear war if Ukraine joins NATO.

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is reminiscent of the United States aggression against the Hawaiian Kingdom during the Spanish-American War. As Russia claims NATO is a national security threat to its existence, the United States claimed Japan was an immediate threat of invasion of the United States west coast.

After the United States admitted unlawful overthrow of the Hawaiian Government, Mahan wrote a letter to the Editor of the New York Times where he advocated seizing the Hawaiian Islands. On January 31, 1893, he wrote that the Hawaiian Islands, “with their geographical and military importance, [is] unrivalled by that of any other position in the North Pacific.” Mahan used the Hawaiian situation to bolster his argument of building a large naval fleet. He warned that a maritime power could well seize the Hawaiian Islands, and that the United States should take that first step. He stated that to hold the Hawaiian Islands, “whether in the supposed case or in war with a European state, implies a great extension of our naval power. Are we ready to undertake this?” Mahan would have to wait four years to find an ally in President William McKinley’s Department of the Navy, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt.

Roosevelt sent a private and confidential letter, on May 3, 1897, to Mahan. He wrote, “I need not tell you that as regards Hawaii I take your views absolutely, as indeed I do on foreign policy generally. If I had my way we would annex those islands tomorrow.”  Moreover, Roosevelt told Mahan that Cleveland’s handling of the Hawaiian situation was “a colossal crime, and we should be guilty of aiding him after the fact if we do not reverse what he did.” Roosevelt also assured Mahan “that Secretary [of the Navy] Long shares [their] views. He believes we should take the islands, and I have just been preparing some memoranda for him to use at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow.”

In a follow up letter to Mahan, on June 9, 1897, Roosevelt wrote that he “urged immediate action by the President as regards Hawaii. Entirely between ourselves, I believe he will act very shortly. If we take Hawaii now, we shall avoid trouble with Japan.” Eight days later, on June 16, 1897, the McKinley administration signed a treaty of “incorporation” with its American puppet—the Republic of Hawai‘i, in Washington, D.C. On the following day, Queen Lili‘uokalani submitted a formal protest to the U.S. State Department stating, “I declare such a treaty to be an act of wrong toward the native and part-native people of Hawaii, an invasion of the rights of the ruling chiefs, in violation of international rights both toward my people and toward friendly nations with whom they have made treaties, the perpetuation of the fraud whereby the constitutional government was overthrown, and, finally, an act of gross injustice to me.”

While the so-called treaty failed to get the required 2/3’s vote from the Senate for ratification, a joint resolution of annexation, being an internal law of the United States, was submitted to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on May 4, 1897, in its place, and pushed through both Houses of the Congress. President McKinley signed it into law on July 7, 1898. In a secret session of the Senate on May 31, 1898, whose transcripts were not opened to the public until 1969, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge acknowledged that the McKinley “Administration was compelled to violate the neutrality of those islands, that protests from foreign representatives had already been received, and complications with other powers were threatened, that the annexation or some action in regard to those islands had become a military necessity.”

The United States aggression against the Hawaiian Kingdom, a sovereign and independent State like Ukraine, gives rise to the proverbial idiom, “who’s calling the kettle black.”

Putin’s warning draws the Hawaiian Kingdom, being a neutral State, into a theater of war should the United States enter the Russia-Ukrainian conflict. According to the U.S. Department of Defense’s Base Structure Report for 2012, the U.S. military has 118 military sites that span 230,929 acres of the Hawaiian Islands, which is 6% of the total acreage of Hawaiian territory. As the headquarters for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, being the largest unified combatant command in the world, the Hawaiian Islands are targeted for nuclear strikes by Russia, China and North Korea.

The United States prolonged and illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom is a direct violation of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s neutrality, which is specifically stated in its treaties with Germany, Spain and Sweden and Norway. Article XV of its treaty with Spain provides “Her Majesty the Queen of Spain engages to respect, in time of war the neutrality of the Hawaiian Islands, and to use her good offices with all the other powers having treaties with the same, to induce them to adopt the same policy toward the said Islands.”

Article 1 of the 1907 Hague Convention, V, provides “The territory of neutral Powers is inviolable,” and Article 2 provides “Belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power.” The United States’ violation of these Articles have placed the residents of the Hawaiian Islands into harms way when Japan attacked U.S. military installations on O‘ahu on December 7, 1941, and continue to place Hawai‘i’s residents in harms way in the event of a nuclear attack.

In 1990, the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published Risks and Hazards: A State by State Guide. One of the subjects included nuclear targets and identified 6 nuclear targets on the island of O‘ahu that coincided with the locations of military posts of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Also included as a target is the Headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Command at Camp Smith that lies in the back of a residential area in Halawa. According to FEMA, the entire Island of O‘ahu would be obliterated if a nuclear attack were to take place with few survivors and total destruction of buildings.

hi-nu

Americanization has desensitized Hawai‘i’s population and has made the presence of the U.S. military in the islands normal. Americanization has also erased the memory of the U.S. invasion in 1893 and portrayed the military presence as protecting the islands from an aggressor country intent on invasion, when in fact the Hawaiian Islands were seized in 1898 to serve as a defense to protect the United States west coast from invasion.

Newlands

After the defeat of the Spanish Pacific Squadron in the Philippines, U.S. Congressman Francis Newlands (D-Nevada), submitted House Resolution 259 annexing the Hawaiian Islands (also known as the Newlands Resolution), to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on May 4, 1898.

Six days later, hearings were held on the Newlands Resolution, and U.S. Naval Captain Alfred Mahan’s testimony explained the military significance of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States:

Mahan

“It is obvious that if we do not hold the islands ourselves we cannot expect the neutrals in the war to prevent the other belligerent from occupying them; nor can the inhabitants themselves prevent such occupation. The commercial value is not great enough to provoke neutral interposition. In short, in war we should need a larger Navy to defend the Pacific coast, because we should have not only to defend our own coast, but to prevent, by naval force, an enemy from occupying the islands; whereas, if we preoccupied them, fortifications could preserve them to us. In my opinion it is not practicable for any trans-Pacific country to invade our Pacific coast without occupying Hawai‘i as a base.”

The Hawaiian Islands was and continues to be the outpost to protect the United States and their presence in the Hawaiian Islands is in violation of international law and the laws of occupation.

Triggering State Responsibility for Internationally Wrongful Acts  

According to the Articles of State Responsibility for Internationally Wrongful Acts, enforcement of international law must be triggered by the injured State, which in this case is the Hawaiian Kingdom, through its restored government, the Council of Regency. But prior to the triggering State responsibility for an internationally wrongful act or acts, it must be clear as to what is the internationally wrongful act or acts committed against an injured State.

As a sovereign and independent State, the Hawaiian Kingdom possessed certain fundamental rights under international law. The principal corollaries of sovereign and independent States are: first, exclusive jurisdiction over its territory and the population residing there; second, the duty of non-intervention in the territory of exclusive jurisdiction of other States; and third, the obligations arising from customary international law and treaties by contracting States.

These rules are regarded at the highest level of international law and are called jus cogens or peremptory norms. A peremptory norm or rule is one that cannot be downplayed or derogated. To downplay these principles would undermine the very existence of international law and the international order of States.

When the United States invaded the Hawaiian Kingdom with U.S. troops on January 16, 1893, under the false flag of protecting American lives and property, it violated the duty of non-intervention. As a result of the unlawful overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government the following day on January 17th, it violated the exclusive jurisdiction of the Hawaiian government over its territory and its resident population by supplanting an American proxy called the provisional government.

It wasn’t until five years later that the United States Congress enacted an internal law purporting to have annexed a foreign State on July 7, 1898. Two years later, the Congress enacted another internal law changing the name of their insurgency they installed to be called the Territory of Hawai‘i. And in 1959, the Congress changed the name of the Territory of Hawai‘i to the State of Hawai‘i.

When the United States unlawfully overthrew the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom, customary international law at the time obligated the United States to temporarily administer the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an occupied State. The customary international law of occupation was later codified under the 1907 Hague Regulations and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Conventions, both of which the United States and signed and ratified. This failure to administer Hawaiian Kingdom law violated the third principle of obligations arising from customary international law and treaties.

Under international law, there are only three ways in which a State can acquire additional territory. These mechanisms include: cession from other States by a treaty (the Louisiana Purchase by the United States from France in 1803); by the physical occupation of territory that is terra nullius (Latin: “land belonging to no one”), which is land not under the sovereignty or control of any other State; or by prescription, where a State acquires territory from another State through a continued period of uncontested sovereignty.

In the federal lawsuit, Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden, the United States asserts that it is the legitimate sovereign over the Hawaiian Islands because it “annexed Hawaii in 1898, and Hawaii entered into the union as a state in 1959.” The United States made no reference to a treaty of cession or even a claim by prescription. Instead, it is relying on its internal law as a mechanism for acquiring foreign territory and imposing American law through its creation called the State of Hawai‘i.

As the Permanent Court of International Justice, in The Lotus Case, stated in 1927, “the 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 of its territory except by virtue of a permissive rule derived from international custom or from a convention.” Congressional laws are not “a permissive rule derived from international custom or from a convention.”

The significance of this statement is legally profound because the United States explicitly admitted, in a court of law, that it is committing internationally wrongful acts that has led to the commission of war crimes and human rights violations as pointed out in the Amended Complaint. A State cannot rely on internationally wrongful acts as a defense for the violation of international laws. This reasoning is absurd and synonymous with an individual on trial for theft of a car admits to stealing the car as a defense for the theft.

On October 11, 2021, the Council of Regency, by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sent a note verbale to all of the embassies accredited to the United Nations in New York City. It stated, “This Note Verbale serves as a notice of claim by an injured State, pursuant to Article 43 of the International Law Commission’s Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (2001), invoking the responsibility of all Member States of the United Nations who are responsible for the internationally wrongful act of recognizing the United States presence in the Hawaiian Kingdom as lawful to cease that act pursuant Article 30(a), and to offer appropriate assurances and guarantees of non-repetition pursuant to Article 30(b). The form of reparation under Article 31 shall take place in accordance with the provisions of Part Two—Content of the International Responsibility of a State(s).”

The joint letter by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and the American Association of Jurists—Asociación Americana de Juristas (AAJ), sent to all the Embassies accredited to the United Nations in New York City and in Geneva on February 16, 2022, reinforces the Hawaiian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ note verbale.

Clerk Enters Default for State of Hawai‘i Officials in Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden and U.S. Files Response to Judicial Notice of Civil Law

Yesterday, the Clerk of the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i entered default for the State of Hawai‘i, Governor David Ige, Securities Commissioner Ty Nohara, and Director of the Department of Taxation Isaac Choy, in federal lawsuit Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden.

In talks with Hawaiian Kingdom Attorney General Dexter Ka‘iama, the State of Hawai‘i Attorney General’s office requested an extension of time to file a response to the Amended Complaint that was filed on August 11, 2021. It was mutually agreed that the filing of a response was due no later than January 10, 2022.

The entry of default against the State of Hawai‘i and its officials prevents them from participating in the proceedings, and, more importantly, an entry of default is an acceptance of the allegations made against them by the Hawaiian Kingdom to be true. The next step is for the Hawaiian Kingdom to file a motion with the Court for default judgment so that it can grant the relief as stated in the Amended Complaint.

Before the Hawaiian Kingdom can file a motion for default judgment, the Court needs to first transform itself into an Article II Occupation Court so that it has jurisdiction over the case.

The Hawaiian Kingdom’s Motion for Judicial Notice of Civil Law on Juridical Fact of the Hawaiian State and the Consequential Juridical Act by the Permanent Court of Arbitration is critical for the Court to transform itself into an Article II Occupation Court, similar to Federal Article II Courts that were established in occupied Germany from 1945-1955.

The Hawaiian Kingdom did not file a Motion for Judicial Notice but rather a Request for Judicial Notice of the Civil Law. It was the Court that transformed the Request into a Motion and gave a timeline for the United States to respond and the Hawaiian Kingdom to reply to that response. A Request for Judicial Notice is considered by the Court alone. The United States filed their response on January 14, 2022, and the Hawaiian Kingdom is preparing to file their reply on January 28.

Instead of refuting the information provided in the Motion for Judicial Notice, the United States argues that it is the legitimate sovereign over the Hawaiian Islands because the “United States annexed Hawaii in 1898, and Hawaii entered the union as a state in 1959.” From this position it then argues that this “Court, the Ninth Circuit, and the courts of the state of Hawaii have repeatedly ‘rejected arguments asserting Hawaiian sovereignty’ distinct from its identity as a part of the United States.”

The Hawaiian Kingdom views the actions taken by the Court regarding the Motion for Judicial Notice as a matter of due diligence on the part of the Court, and, therefore, will be responding to the United States arguments and show why it is without merit.

The legal status of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State predates, not postdates, 1898. The United States fails to address in its filing that President John Tyler on July 6, 1844, explicitly recognized the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State by letter from Secretary of State John C. Calhoun to the Hawaiian Commission. This was confirmed by the arbitral tribunal in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom:

“In the nineteenth century the Hawaiian Kingdom existed as an independent State recognized as such by the United States of America, the United Kingdom and various other States, including by exchanges of diplomatic or consular representatives and the conclusion of treaties.”

On January 17, 1893, by an act of war, the United States unlawfully overthrew the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom. President Grover Cleveland entered into an executive agreement with Queen Lili‘uokalani on December 18, 1893, in attempt to restore the government but was politically prevented from doing so by members of Congress. The failure to restore the government, however, did not affect the legal status of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign and independent State under international law.

In Texas v. White, the Supreme Court stated that a “‘state,’ in the ordinary sense of the Constitution, is a political community of free citizens, occupying a territory of defined boundaries, and organized under a government sanctioned and limited by a written constitution, and established by the consent of the governed.” The Supreme Court further stated that a “plain distinction is made [in the U.S. Constitution] between a State and the government of a State.”

Therefore, when the rebels seized control of the Texas government and joined the Confederacy in the Civil War it did not affect or change the State of Texas under the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court’s position is consistent with international law where the “state must be distinguished from the government. The state, not the government, is the major player, the legal person, in international law.”

According to Judge Crawford, “Pending a final settlement of the conflict, belligerent occupation does not affect the continuity of the State. The governmental authorities may be driven into exile or silenced, and the exercise of the powers of the State thereby affected. But it is settled that the powers themselves continue to exist. This is strictly not an application of the ‘actual independence’ rule but an exception to it…pending a settlement of the conflict by a peace treaty or its equivalent.” There is no peace treaty or its equivalent between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States.

In its reply, the Hawaiian Kingdom will expound on the legal presumption of continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State under international law, why the United States cannot invoke its internal law as a justification for not complying with international obligations, and distinguishing the institutional jurisdiction of the Permanent Court of Arbitration from the subject matter jurisdiction of the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom arbitration tribunal, when it acknowledged the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a juridical fact.

UPDATE: Federal Government Given Extension to File Opposition to Hawaiian Kingdom’s Motion for Judicial Notice of Civil Law

On December 16, 2021, United States Magistrate Judge Rom Trader issued an order allowing the United States to file their Response Memorandum to the Hawaiian Kingdom’s Motion for Judicial Notice of Civil Law regarding the action taken by the International Bureau of the Permanent Court of Arbitration acknowledging the Hawaiian Kingdom as a non-Contracting State to the 1907 Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes from December 16, 2021 to January 14, 2022. The Hawaiian Kingdom will need to file their Reply in support of their Motion for Judicial Notice by January 28, 2022.

The United States will also be filing a Motion to Dismiss the complaint on the same day their Response is due. The Hawaiian Kingdom is scheduled to file their Opposition to the Motion Dismiss on the same day they will be filing their Reply in support of their Motion for Judicial Notice. The United States will then file their Reply in support of their Motion to Dismiss by February 11, 2022.

Judge Trader’s order confirmed a Stipulation Agreement entered into between Dexter Ka‘iama, Attorney General for the Hawaiian Kingdom, and Michael J. Gerardi, Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice. The Stipulation Agreement stated:

In light of the Court’s decision to convert Plaintiff’s request for judicial notice into a motion, the impending deadlines for responding to the complaint and the Rule 16 conference, and the forthcoming federal holidays of Christmas and New Year’s Day, good cause exists to modify the current deadlines. Resolution of the Plaintiff’s pending motion and of Defendants’ motion to dismiss may obviate the need for a Rule 16 conference. Defendants further state that they need additional time to consult with representatives of multiple government agencies, as well as supervisory officials within the Department of Justice, to prepare the necessary filing. Moreover, many federal officials are likely to be unavailable during the holiday season due to preplanned leave.

Gerardi disclosed to Attorney General Ka‘iama that the basis for their Motion to Dismiss would argue that federal courts have already determined that the Hawaiian Kingdom does not exist and, therefore, it presents a political question that would require presiding Judge Leslie Kobayashi to dismiss the case. The political question doctrine applies only to Article III Courts, which are federal courts within the territory of the United States. It does not apply to federal courts established outside of the United States, which are called Article II Courts.

The doctrine prevents the federal courts from determining the question of sovereignty over territory because that determination is committed to the political branches of the federal government. If there is a question of sovereignty over Native American tribal lands the political branch to determine that question in the affirmative would be the legislative branch—the Congress by virtue of federal recognition. If the question of sovereignty concerns a country outside of the United States it would be the executive branch, headed by the President, recognizing a territory as an “independent and sovereign State.”

It would appear that Gerardi is not aware that President Tyler on July 6, 1844 explicitly recognized the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State by letter from Secretary of State John C. Calhoun to the Hawaiian Commission comprised of Timoteo Ha‘alilio and William Richards. While in the Washington, D.C., the Hawaiian Commission sent a letter dated December 14, 1842, to Secretary of State Daniel Webster requesting that the United States recognize the Hawaiian Kingdom as a “sovereign and independent State.”

On December 19th, Secretary of State Webster responded by stating that President Tyler is “willing to declare, as the sense of the Government of the United States, that the Government of the Sandwich Islands [Hawaiian Islands] ought to be respected; that no power ought either to take possession of the islands as a conquest, or for the purpose of colonization, and that not power ought to seek for any undue control over the existing Government, or any exclusive privileges or preferences in matters of commerce.” He further stated, “the President does not see any present necessity for the negotiation of a formal treaty, or the appointment or reception of diplomatic characters.” The use of the term “ought” is not conclusive as “shall.”

His his message to the House of Representatives on December 31, 1842, President Tyler stated that the United States “is content with its independent existence,” but did not explicitly recognize the Hawaiian Kingdom as a “sovereign and independent State” as required by customary international law. President Tyler did not declare the United States’ recognition of Hawaiian independence, which prompted to the Hawaiian Commission to travel to Europe to seek explicit recognition from Great Britain and France.

On November 28, 1843, the Hawaiian Commission was able to secure formal recognition of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a “sovereign and independent State” from Great Britain and France by a formal joint proclamation. While in Washington, D.C., after returning from Europe, the Hawaiian Commission sent another letter to Secretary of State Calhoun, who succeeded Webster, on July 1, 1844, inquiring whether the United States considered its “various acts in relation to the Sandwich Islands as a full and perfect recognition of independence.”

Secretary of State Calhoun responded to the Hawaiian Commission on July 6, 1844. He wrote that the appointment of a United States Commissioner to the Hawaiian Islands was “regarded by the President as a full recognition on the part of the United States, of the Independence of the Hawaiian Government.” A Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States was signed in Washington, D.C., on December 20, 1849.

There is no political question for the United States to raise in its Motion to Dismiss because the United States, by its President, formally recognized the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign and independent State. On December 18, 1893, President Grover Cleveland acknowledged the United States’ overthrow of the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom was an act of war and unlawful. The overthrow of the Government of an independent State does not equate to the overthrow of the State itself and its existence. The State would still exist and the situation would be called “belligerent occupation.”

This is precisely what occurred when the Allied Powers occupied Germany from 1945-1955 after the Nazi government of Germany was militarily overthrown. According Professor Ian Brownlie:

Thus after the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War the four major Allied powers assumed supreme power in Germany. The legal competence of the German state [its independence and sovereignty] did not, however, disappear. What occurred is akin to legal representation or agency of necessity. The German state continued to exist, and, indeed, the legal basis of the occupation depended on its continued existence.

UPDATE: Federal Court Issues Minute Order regarding Hawaiian Kingdom’s Request for Judicial Notice of Civil Law

After reviewing the Hawaiian Kingdom’s Request for Judicial Notice regarding Civil Law on the “Juridical Fact” of the Hawaiian State and the Consequential “Juridical Act” by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi issued a Minute Order today setting dates for additional filings. Judge Kobayashi will be considering the Request for Judicial Notice as a Non Hearing Motion.

The Order stated that Defendants have until December 21, 2021 to file a Response Memorandum to the Hawaiian Kingdom’s Request for Judicial Notice of Civil Law. The Plaintiff, if it chooses, will need to file a Reply Memorandum by January 4, 2022. After the parties file their submissions, the “Court to issue Order.”

Hawaiian Kingdom Files Request for Federal Court to take Judicial Notice of Civil Law

At the center of the federal lawsuit is the court’s jurisdiction, which is its authority to preside over the case. Without proper jurisdiction or authority, the Court cannot make any decision regarding the Hawaiian Kingdom’s allegations in its Amended Complaint, or even any substantive issues raised by the defendants through motions or statements of interest. In its Amended Complaint, the Hawaiian Kingdom explained:

3. While this court is operating within the territory of the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM and not within the territory of Defendant UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, its jurisdiction is found as a de facto Article II Court. According to Professor Bederman:

What, then, is distinctive about a court established under Article II of the Constitution? First, executive tribunals are established without an act of Congress or any other form of legislative concurrence. Congressional intent concerning the status of a presidential court is irrelevant because no congressional approval is needed. The fact that the President alone can create an executive court places it outside the scope of Article III of the Constitution, which demands that Congress shall establish courts inferior to the Supreme Court. Second, the executive courts are created pursuant only to the power and authority granted to the President in Article II of the Constitution. In practice, the only presidential power that would call for the creation of a court is that arising from his responsibility as Commander in Chief of the armed services and his subsequent war-making authority.

4. The authority for this Court to assume jurisdiction as a de facto Article II Court is fully elucidated in the Amicus Curiae brief previously lodged in these proceedings by virtue of the Motion for Leave to File Amicus Curiae Brief on July 30, 2021 [ECF 45] by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), and the Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC). The Amicus brief is instructional for the Court to transition to a de facto Article II Court.

5. An Article II Court was established in Germany after hostilities ceased in 1945 during the Second World War. After the surrender, western Germany came under belligerent occupation by the United States, France and Great Britain. The military occupation officially came to an end on May 5, 1955, with the entry into force of peace treaties called the Bonn Conventions between the Federal Republic of Germany and the three Occupying States. During the occupation, these Article II Courts had jurisdiction “over all persons in the occupied territory,” except for Allied armed forces, their dependents, and civilian officials, for “[a]ll offenses against the laws and usages of war[,] […] [a]ll offenses under any proclamation, law, ordinance, notice or order issued by or under the authority of the Military Government or of the Allied Forces, [and] [a]ll offenses under the laws of the occupied territory or any part thereof.”

6. Like the Article II Court in Germany, this Court has Jurisdiction as a de facto Article II Court because this action arises under international humanitarian law—law of armed conflict, which include the 1907 Hague Convention, IV (1907 Hague Regulations), the 1907 Hague Convention, V, the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV (1949 Fourth Geneva Convention), and Hawaiian Kingdom law. Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Regulations states:

The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.

7. The Court is authorized to award the requested declaratory and injunctive relief as a de facto Article II Court because it is situated within the territory of the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM that has been under a prolonged belligerent occupation by the United States of America since January 17, 1893.

On August 17, 2021, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) filed a motion for permission to file an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai‘i in support of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s complaint against U.S. President Biden and others for violations of international law, the commission of war crimes, and human rights violations in its prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The motion was filed after the Hawaiian Kingdom filed its Amended Complaint on August 11, 2021.

An amicus curiae is “one (such as a professional person or organization) that is not a party to a particular litigation but that is permitted by the court to advise it in respect to some matter of law that directly affects the case in question.” The amicus brief was attached to the motion for the court to consider. In its request for permission, the IADL-NLG-WPLC stated:

1. The nongovernmental organizations whose views are represented in this brief have expertise in public international law, international human rights, humanitarian law, and norms regarding statehood, sovereignty, and self-determination.

2. Movants submit this brief to ensure a proper understanding and application of the international law and historical precedent relevant to this case regarding Article II occupation courts. The amici are additionally human rights organizations that have an interest in ensuring an informed interpretation of international human rights law in domestic jurisprudence.

On September 30, 2021, Federal Magistrate Rom Trader issued an Order granting permission for the IADL-NLG-WPLC to file their amicus brief that supports the Hawaiian Kingdom’s claim that the Court must transform itself into an Article II Court. By granting permission, the Court will not only utilize the amicus brief to assist in its decision regarding its transformation into an Article II Court, but it also acknowledges the merit of the IADL-NLG-WPLC’s argument. If it were a frivolous argument, the Court would not have granted permission to file the brief because granting permission is at the discretion of the Court. The Court was able to issue this Order without having resolved its jurisdiction, because the brief addresses jurisdiction for the Court to consider when it transforms itself into an Article II Occupation Court.

The IADL-NLG-WPLC filed their amicus brief on October 6, 2021 and opened with:

The purpose of this brief is to bring to the Court’s attention customary international law norms and judicial precedent regarding Article II occupation courts that bear on the long-standing belligerent occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States at issue in this case.

In assessing the legality of the US occupation of Hawai‘i, the Court should be cognizant of customary international law and international human rights treaties that are incorporated into domestic law by virtue of Article VI, section 2 of the Constitution (the “Supremacy Clause”). International law, which includes treaties ratified by the United States as well as customary international law, is part of U.S. law and must be faithfully executed by the President and enforced by U.S. courts except when clearly inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution or subsequent acts of Congress.

The question here is not whether the Hawaiian Kingdom has standing in an Article III court. The question is whether this court can sit as an Article II occupation court and whether the claims of the Hawaiian Kingdom can be redressed. The answer to both questions is yes.

It is evident that the Court has accepted the arguments that it is not properly constituted because it is located in the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom and not within the territory of the United States. Adding to the serious consequences of this case was the closure of three consulates of the Czech Republic, Finland, and India. This prompted the United States Department of Justice to file a Statement of Interest on November 5, 2021, that was asking the Court to dismiss the thirty consulates from the lawsuit because the United States claimed they had immunity.

Of the summons that were served, 12 foreign consulates failed to respond within 21 days and entries of default were entered by the Clerk of the Court.  These foreign consulates include AustriaBelgiumChileGermanyJapanLuxembourgNetherlandsNorwayPhilippinesSouth KoreaSpain, and Thailand. Default is where a defendant has failed to defend against a claim that has been brought by the filing of a complaint. By default, these foreign consulates accept the allegation of the Hawaiian Kingdom that it is true they are unlawful. The next stage is to get a judgment of default by the judge so that they can be ordered to close. The Hawaiian Kingdom, however, is prevented from filing a motion for judgment of default because the Court is not an Article II Court that operates in territory belligerently occupied by the United States.

The Hawaiian Kingdom filed a Response to the United States Statement of Interest on November 7, 2021, stating the consulates cannot claim to be immune from the lawsuit because they were never lawful under international law to begin with because the Hawaiian Kingdom did not give its permission to have the consulates established within its territory. Rather, these consulates, as stated by the United States in its Statement of Interest, were established by the United States Department of State. In its Response, the Hawaiian Kingdom also maintained that the “Court is compelled by international and U.S. constitutional law to first transform itself from an Article III Court to a de facto Article II Court before it may lawfully assert subject-matter and personal jurisdiction to address any of the issues raised.” 

On November 29, 2021, the Hawaiian Kingdom filed a Supplemental Response to the United States’ Statement of Interest that explained the significance of the action taken by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) through the civil law tradition of understanding of the “juridical fact” of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s continued existence under the rules of customary international law, and the consequential “juridical act” by the International Bureau of the PCA that acknowledged the Hawaiian Kingdom’s existence, which authorized the PCA to form an arbitral tribunal on June 9, 2000 to resolve the dispute in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom.

Here is a link to an explanation by the University of California, Berkeley Law School of the civil law tradition and the common law and why they are distinct. The United States and the Hawaiian Kingdom are common law systems where juries determine “facts” and the judges determine “laws.” In a civil law system, there are no juries and the judge determines both laws and facts, which is why there are certain facts, called “juridical facts,” that create legal consequences, as opposed to other facts that don’t create legal consequences.

The Supplemental Response also explained the consequences of the United States and the thirty countries that have their consulates named in the lawsuit of serving on the PCA’s Administrative Council and acknowledged the Hawaiian Kingdom as a non-Contracting State to the 1907 Hague Convention under customary international law, opinio juris.

Yesterday, the Hawaiian Kingdom filed a Request for Judicial Notice regarding Civil Law on the “Juridical Fact” of the Hawaiian State and the Consequential “Juridical Act” by the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Attached to the Request is a legal opinion by Professor Federico Lenzerini from the University of Siena, Italy, which is a civil law country. In its Request, the Hawaiian Kingdom stated:

Plaintiff HAWAIIAN KINGDOM hereby requests that, pursuant to FRCP Rule 44.1, the Court take judicial notice of the civil law regarding the juridical act of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (“PCA”) recognizing the juridical fact of the Statehood of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the Council of Regency as its government.

Attached to the accompanying declaration as Exhibit “1” is an expert opinion of Professor Federico Lenzerini, a professor of international law at the University of Siena, Italy. Italy’s legal system is civil law and Professor Lenzerini is very familiar with the civil law tradition providing the ontological legal basis of the juridical fact of the Statehood of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the Council of Regency as its government, and of the juridical act taken by the PCA within the “reasonings and analogies of the…civil law.” Furthermore, the PCA is situated in the Netherlands, which is a civil law country like Italy.

Plaintiff contends, in support of its amended complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief, that the Court’s transformation to an Article II Court has a direct nexus to the PCA’s juridical act of acknowledging the Hawaiian Kingdom, a juridical fact, as a non-Contracting State to the 1907 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes. Accordingly, in support of said allegations and such evidence, Plaintiff requests that the Court takes judicial notice of the relevant provisions of the civil law regarding juridical facts and juridical acts.

FRCP Rule 44.1 provides as follows:

A party who intends to raise an issue concerning the law of a foreign country shall give notice by pleadings or other reasonable written notice. The court, in determining foreign law, may consider any relevant material or source, including testimony, whether or not submitted by a party or admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence. The court’s determination shall be treated as a ruling on a question of law.


The recent filing brings in an expert’s legal opinion on the role that civil law had when the International Bureau of the PCA acknowledged the Hawaiian Kingdom’s continued existence as a State to be a “juridical fact.” Civil law refers to the action taken by the International Bureau as a “juridical act.” The International Bureau is headed by a Secretary General who is Dutch by nationality, and that the Netherlands, like Italy, is a civil law system. In other words, the Secretary General would have been familiar with a “juridical fact” and the consequential “juridical act” in accepting the international dispute of Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom under the jurisdiction of the PCA. In his legal opinion, attached to the Hawaiian Kingdom Request for the Court to take judicial notice, Professor Lenzerini explains:

According to a civil law perspective, the juridical act of the International Bureau of the PCA instituting the arbitration in the case of Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom may be compared – mutatis mutandis – to a juridical act of a domestic judge recognizing a juridical fact (e.g. filiation) which is productive of certain legal effects arising from it according to law. Said legal effects may include, depending on applicable law, the power to stand before a court with the purpose of invoking certain rights. In the context of the Larsen arbitration, the juridical fact recognized by the PCA in favour of the Hawaiian Kingdom was its quality of State under international law. Among the legal effects produced by such a juridical fact, the entitlement of the Hawaiian Kingdom to be part of an international arbitration under the auspices of the PCA was included, since the existence of said juridical fact actually represented an indispensable condition for the Hawaiian Kingdom to be admitted in the Larsen arbitration, vis-à-vis a private entity (Lance Paul Larsen). Consequently, the International Bureau of the PCA carried out the juridical act consisting in establishing the arbitral tribunal as an effect of the recognition of the juridical fact in point. Likewise, e.g., the recognition of the juridical fact of filiation by a domestic judge, also the recognition of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State had in principle retroactive effects, in the sense that the Hawaiian Kingdom did not acquire the condition of State per effect of the PCA’s juridical act. Rather, the Hawaiian Kingdom’s Statehood was a juridical fact that the PCA recognized as pre-existing to its juridical act.

It is expected that the Court will take judicial notice of the civil law as explained by Professor Lenzerini. By doing so, the Court would appear to be moving closer to transforming itself into an Article II Court in accordance with the international law of occupation.

Hawaiian Kingdom Files Supplemental Response to U.S. Statement of Interest in Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden

The day after celebrating Hawaiian Independence Day (Lā Kūʻokoʻa), the Hawaiian Kingdom filed a Supplemental Response to the United States Statement of Interest that the Department of Justice filed on November 5, 2021.

In its Supplemental Response, the Hawaiian Kingdom opened with:

The Plaintiff would like to expand on what it stated in its conclusion that the “jurisdiction of the Court as an Article II Court is consequential to the existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State,” by drawing the Court’s attention to the consequences of the United States and those States whose Consulates are Defendants in this case that did not object to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (“PCA”), by its International Bureau, of its juridical act of acknowledging the Hawaiian Kingdom’s existence as a non-Contracting State, is a reflection of customary international law and the practice of States—opinio juris, thereby precluding the United States and Defendant foreign Consulates from denying otherwise.

The Plaintiff hereafter explains the significance of the PCAʻs juridical act by tying it directly to the continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a juridical fact through the application of the civil law, as opposed to the common law, in international proceedings.

Throughout the world there are different legal systems. The predominant legal system is called citizens law or civil law, which draws from Roman law and spread throughout continental Europe. It developed over time on the basis of general principles that derived from a book titled Corpus Iuris Civilis (Body of Civil Law) and a set of universities. Great Britain, however, operates under a common law system derived from centuries of judge made law. The underlying difference is civil law is made by citizens and common law is made by judges. There are nearly 150 countries that have a civil law legal system.

The Hawaiian Kingdom also stated in its Supplemental Response the impact that the civil law had and continues to have in international law and international institutions such as the PCA.

According to Professor Picker, “[t]here is a wide degree of support for the proposition that civil law has served as the most significant influence on international law.” He goes on to state that “some would even argue that international law is essentially a civil law system.” And Professor Nagle explains, “[i]t is the civil-law traditions that have most widely influenced international law [and] international organizations.” Furthermore, as stated by Professors Merryman and Clark, “[t]he civil law was the legal tradition familiar to the Western European scholar-politicians who were the fathers of international law. The basic charters and the continuing legal development and operation of the European Communities are the work of people trained in the civil law tradition.”

Of the 44 Contracting States to the 1907 Convention that established the PCA at the Hague Conference in 1907, the United States and Great Britain, as common law States, were the only States that were not from a civil law tradition. The other 42 States were represented by men who were “trained in the civil law tradition.” This includes the Netherlands where the PCA is situated in its city The Hague. The current number of Contracting States to the 1907 Convention is 122, the majority of which are based on the civil law tradition.

Therefore, it stands to reason that the action taken by the PCA in acknowledging the continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State for purposes of its institutional jurisdiction should be viewed through the reasonings of the civil law tradition as opposed to the common law.

The two legal systems deal with evidence differently mainly because there are no juries in the civil law system. Jury trials originated in England. In the common law system, the judge determines the law and its effect, but the jury determines the facts. In the civil law system, because there is no jury, certain facts can create a juridical or legal effect. Juridical is another word for legal.

In the civil law system, the opposing parties argue points of law and the judge controls the gathering of evidence or facts. While in the common law system, the parties to the conflict gathers evidence to support their side of the argument. The judge does not get involved with evidence except to ensure the introduction of evidence is according to certain rules. In its Supplemental Response, the Hawaiian Kingdom explains how facts work in a civil law system:

In the civil law tradition, a fact is juridical or legal when it produces a legal effect, by virtue of a legal rule. In Schexnider v. McDermott Int’l Inc., the federal court in Louisiana stated juridical facts are defined as “events having prescribed legal effects.” According to the German tradition of the civil law, a juridical act, which is triggered by a juridical fact, “sets the law in motion and produces legal consequences.” Under American jurisprudence, the equivalent of a juridical act in the civil law tradition is judicial notice of a fact or facts.

The Hawaiian Kingdom, as an independent and sovereign State in continuity, is a juridical fact according to the civilian law. Both rights and powers held by a subject of international law may arise from a juridical fact, which is precisely what occurred when arbitral proceedings were initiated in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom at the PCA, being a subject of international law. An arbitration agreement was entered into between Larsen and the Hawaiian Kingdom on October 30, 1999, and a notice of arbitration was filed by the claimant on November 8, 1999, with the PCA’s International Bureau. Access to the institutional jurisdiction of the PCA would only be triggered by the juridical fact of the Hawaiian Kingdom being a non-Contracting “State,” and not by Larsen as a “private party.” This juridical fact set in motion and produced legal consequences, which was the convening of the ad hoc arbitral tribunal on June 9, 2000.

Prior to the formation of the tribunal under the auspices of the PCA, as an intergovernmental organization and subject of international law, it required that the international dispute conform to the provisions of the 1907 Hague Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes (1907 Convention) as a matter of international law. Access to the auspices of the PCA are for Contracting and non-Contracting States, and the Hawaiian Kingdom is a non-Contracting State to the 1907 Convention. Private parties do not have access to the PCA unless sponsored by their State. In this case, the Plaintiff did not sponsor Larsen in its suit, but rather waived its sovereign immunity by consenting to submit their dispute to the PCA for resolution of the dispute by virtue of Article 47, which is a legal rule that provides for non-Contracting States to have access to the jurisdiction of the PCA.

The juridical fact of the Hawaiian State and its continuity produced a legal effect for the International Bureau of the PCA to do a juridical act of accepting the dispute under the auspices of the PCA by virtue of Article 47, being a legal rule. The international dispute between Larsen and the Hawaiian Kingdom was not created by the juridical fact, but rather the juridical fact determined the legal conditions for the PCA’s acceptance of the dispute, which is the juridical act by which the dispute is established in order to have access to the jurisdiction of the PCA.

The significance of the juridical act taken by the International Bureau acknowledging the Hawaiian Kingdom’s continued existence, is that the United States, as a member of the PCA Administrative Council, was fully aware of the Larsen case and did not object to the juridical act by the International Bureau. In fact, the United States entered into an agreement with the Council of Regency to access all records and pleadings of the case.

State continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom is determined by the rules of customary international law. And while State members of the Administrative Council furnishes to all Contracting States “with an annual Report” in accordance with Article 49, it does represent “State practice [that] covers an act or statement by…State[s] from which views can be inferred about international law,” and it “can also include omissions and silence on the part of States.” The fact that the United States, to include all member States of the Administrative Council and those States whose consulates are Defendants in this case, did not object to the International Bureau’s juridical act of acknowledging the Hawaiian Kingdom’s existence as a non-Contracting State, is a reflection of the practice of States—opinio juris. Furthermore, the Administrative Council is a treaty-based component of an intergovernmental organization comprised of representatives of States, and “their practice is best regarded as the practice of States.”

In other words, the member States of the Administrative Council, by their failure to protest the International Bureauʻs juridical act of acknowledging the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State, is considered the practice of States, which is a part of customary international law. By their silence they admit that according to the rules of customary international law, the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist. It also acknowledges that the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom is a juridical fact, and not just a fact.

In the civil law system not every fact produces legal consequences. A chair in the kitchen is a fact, but it doesn’t produce legal consequences. But the existence of a State, which is a subject of international law, is a juridical fact because it does produce legal consequences. The PCA’s juridical act is an acknowledgment that the existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State is a juridical fact in the civil law system. The nearly 150 countries in the world that have a civil law legal system would have to accept that the Hawaiian Kingdom is a juridical fact by virtue of the juridical act done by the PCA. Juridical facts create juridical acts. A juridical act does not operate on its own. It has to stem from a juridical fact.

In common law States, like the United States, facts can produce legal consequences but the facts need to be recognized by a judge, which is called judicial notice. According to the Legal Information Institute, when “a court takes judicial notice of an indisputable fact in a civil case, the fact is considered conclusive.” When one of the parties in a federal lawsuit does not recognize the status of a country as an independent State, the court could, on its own, reach out to the U.S. State Department to see whether that country in question is a State, and take judicial notice of the determination by the State Department that it is a State for purposes of international law. Rule 201(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Evidence provides that the “court may judicially notice a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute because it…can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot be reasonably questioned.”

In Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden, the Magistrate Judge or the District Court Judge can, by judicial notice, recognize the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom by virtue of the actions taken by the PCA because the PCA is a source “whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.” This would then allow the federal court to transform itself into an Article II Court. In its conclusion, the Hawaiian Kingdom stated:

This Court is in the same situation as the PCA regarding jurisdiction as an institution. Where the PCA’s juridical act stems from the juridical fact of the Hawaiian State’s continued existence whereby the PCA established the arbitral tribunal pursuant to Article 47 of the 1907 Convention regarding jurisdiction, this Court, as a matter of jurisdiction, is capable of an Order taking judicial notice of the fact of the Hawaiian State’s continued existence that would grant this Court subject matter and personal jurisdiction pursuant to Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Regulations, where “[t]he authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.”

U.S. Department of Justice Files Statement of Interest Claiming Foreign Consulates in Hawai‘i Have Immunity in Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden

The Hawaiian Kingdom filed an Amended Complaint on August 11, 2021. According to federal court proceedings, when a complaint is filed, a court must take the alleged facts as true. In reviewing a motion to dismiss, all allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the complaint must be accepted as true and viewed in the light most favorable to the complainant, which in this case is the Hawaiian Kingdom.

In its amended complaint, the Hawaiian Kingdom alleged that the foreign consulates named as defendants in the case are unlawful because they did not get permission to establish themselves as consuls from the Hawaiian Kingdom government. Instead, the consulates were given permission by the United States government. The United States can only give permission for consulates to be established within its own territory and not the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom despite being belligerently occupied by the United States since 1893. The Hawaiian Kingdom is seeking the Court to declare that these foreign consuls are unlawful under both international law and Hawaiian Kingdom law.

While no media outlet is covering this case, it is gaining the attention of foreign countries that have consulates in Hawai‘i and the U.S. State Department. Since the lawsuit was initiated by the Hawaiian Kingdom on May 20, 2021, three countries closed their consulates in Hawai‘i—the Czech Republic, Finland and India.

Of the summons that were served, 12 foreign consulates failed to respond within 21 days and entries of default were entered by the Clerk of the Court.  These foreign consulates include Austria, Belgium, Chile, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, South Korea, Spain, and Thailand. Default is where a defendant has failed to defend against a claim that has been brought by the filing of a complaint. By default, these foreign consulates accept the allegation of the Hawaiian Kingdom that it is true they are unlawful. The next stage is to get a judgment of default by the judge so that they can be ordered to close. The Hawaiian Kingdom, however, is prevented from filing a motion for judgment of default because the Court is not an Article II Court that operates in territory belligerently occupied by the United States.

Sweden was the only foreign consulate to respond by filing a Motion to Dismiss on September 21, 2021. Anders Nervell, who is also a law partner at Clay Chapman Iwamura Pulice & Nervell, is named as a defendant in his official capacity as Honorary Consul for Sweden. Nervell does not seek to dismiss the complaint in its entirety, but only over himself because he is claiming personal immunity from the jurisdiction of the federal court.

In his filing, Nervell claims that he is immune from jurisdiction of the federal court under article 71(1) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The Vienna Convention is a treaty that has been signed and ratified by 181 States, to include the United States.

The federal court ordered the Hawaiian Kingdom to file a response no later than October 20, 2021, and that if Nervell would like to file a reply to the Hawaiian Kingdom response, it must be no later than November 3, 2021.

On September 30, 2021, Federal Magistrate Rom Trader issued an Order granting permission for the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the National Lawyers Guild and the Water Protectors Legal Collective (IADL-NLG-WPLC) to file their amicus brief that supports the Hawaiian Kingdom’s claim that the Court must transform itself into an Article II Court.

By granting permission, the Court will not only utilize the amicus brief to assist in its decision regarding its transformation into an Article II Court, but it also acknowledges the merit of the IADL-NLG-WPLC’s argument. If it were a frivolous argument, the Court would not have granted permission to file the brief because granting permission is at the discretion of the Court. The IADL-NLG-WPLC filed their amicus brief on October 6, 2021.

The Court’s Order and the filing of the amicus brief was timely for the Hawaiian Kingdom’s response to Nervell.

On October 19, 2021, the Hawaiian Kingdom filed its Response. While citing article XII of the 1852 Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway that requires any Swedish consul must be approved and admitted by the Hawaiian Kingdom and not by the United States, the Hawaiian Kingdom maintained that the “Court is compelled by international and U.S. constitutional law to first transform itself from an Article III Court to a de facto Article II Court before it may lawfully assert subject-matter and personal jurisdiction to address any of the issues raised” by Nervell. The Hawaiian Kingdom also maintained that Nervell was never a lawful Honorary Consul for Sweden approved by the Hawaiian Kingdom, and therefore could not claim to be protected by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. The Vienna Convention only applies to lawfully established consuls.

In its Response, the Hawaiian Kingdom drew attention to the jurisdiction of the court, which it stated in federal court proceedings, a judgment is void “if the court that rendered judgment lacked jurisdiction of the subject-matter, or of the parties, or acted in a manner inconsistent with due process.” In other words, before the Court can make any judgment in this lawsuit, which would include Nervell’s motion to dismiss, it needs to have lawful jurisdiction first. If it doesn’t, which is the position taken by the Hawaiian Kingdom and the IADL-NLG-WPLC in its amicus brief, all judgments made are void and of no effect. The filing of the amicus brief supported the Hawaiian Kingdom’s response.

The Hawaiian Kingdom, in its response, cited the U.S. Supreme Court, in Pennoyer v. Neff, which stated:

No State can exercise direct jurisdiction and authority over persons or property without its territory. The several States are of equal dignity and authority, and the independence of one implies the exclusion of power from all others. And so it is laid down by jurists as an elementary principle that the laws of one State have no operation outside of its territory except so far as is allowed by comity, and that no tribunal established by it can extend its process beyond that territory so as to subject either persons or property to its decisions.

On November 3, 2021, Nervell filed his Reply where he stated that the Hawaiian Kingdom merely gave, in its response, “tendentious ramblings regarding international law,” and it “can play no role here.” The irony of this statement is that the so-called “ramblings regarding international law” were along the same lines as the amicus brief regarding Article II Courts, which the Magistrate Judge accepted as having merit. In other words, international law regarding Article II Courts is playing a “role here.”

Two days later, on November 5, the United States Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest attempting to influence the Court to dismiss all of the 30 defendant Consuls General and Honorary Consuls, and to set aside entry of default of the 12 Consuls General and Honorary Consuls. The United States filed its Statement of Interest “to set forth its views with respect to the immunity of the consular officers named as defendants in this lawsuit.”

Like Nervell, the United States also attempts to discredit the Hawaiian Kingdom. In its introduction, the United States stated that this “lawsuit is brought by a group of individuals who call themselves the ‘Council of Regency,’ which in turn purports to the be the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom (‘Plaintiff’). Plaintiff requests that the Court declare that the Council of Regency, not the democratically-elected government, is the rightful ruler of Hawaii.”

The United States also adopts the legal arguments in Nervell’s Motion to Dismiss, which provided the opportunity for the Hawaiian Kingdom to respond to the United States’ Statement of Interest, and also to reveal the errors in Nervell’s November 3 reply.

On November 7, 2021, the Hawaiian Kingdom filed its Response to the United States’ Statement of Interest. The Hawaiian Kingdom opened with:

By filing its statement of interest, the UNITED STATES engages in unfounded and disparaging remarks directed at Plaintiff in a poor attempt to present a false narrative of Plaintiff’s status and the UNITED STATES’ factual and undisputed recognition of that status. Exposure of this false narrative, as more fully set forth herein below, opens for clear view of an argument, by the UNITED STATES, that strains credibility and subject to terminable contradiction by the facts and laws presented in these proceedings.

In its Response, the Hawaiian Kingdom views the United States’ use of the term purport as “a pejorative statement inserted in a non-answer pleading that attempts to influence the Court that its argument that the Defendant Consulates have immunity from jurisdiction via the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations has merit.” The Hawaiian Kingdom goes on to state:

As the Council of Regency are officers de facto of a government, albeit a government of an occupied State where democratic principles have no play in a belligerent occupation, the UNITED STATES, as a government itself of an independent and sovereign State, must provide rebuttable evidence that another government of a co-equal independent and sovereign State is not what it claims to be. To do otherwise, is an insult to its dignity because the Council of Regency is the Head of the Hawaiian Kingdom government. According to Oppenheim,

“Since dignity is a recognized quality of States as International Persons, all members of the Family of Nations grant reciprocally to one another by custom certain rights and ceremonial privileges. (These are chiefly the rights to demand—that their heads shall not be libelled and slandered […].) Every State must not only itself comply with the duties corresponding to these rights of other States, but must also prevent its subjects from such acts as violate the dignity of foreign States, and must punish them for acts of that kind which it could not prevent. The Municipal Laws of all States must therefore provide for the punishment of those who commit offences against the dignity of foreign States, and, if the Criminal Law of the land does not contain such provisions, it is no excuse for failure by the respective States to punish offenders.”

Though it cites NERVELL’S REPLY, the UNITED STATES, like NERVELL, fails to counter the factual allegations in the Amended Complaint that: (a) the UNITED STATES, to include Sweden and all States of the other Consular Defendants, as members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s Administrative Council, acknowledged the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM as a non-Contracting State under Article 47 of the 1907 Hague Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, and the Council of Regency as its government and; (b) the UNITED STATES, by its embassy in The Hague, entering into an agreement with the Council of Regency, as the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom, to have access to all records and pleadings of the arbitral proceedings.

The Response stated that the arguments by the United States and Nervell “are blatantly unsubstantiated denials and desperate attempts by both to distract this Court from the facts of this case. Furthermore, Sweden, as a co-equal sovereign and independent State is responsible for NERVELL’s pleadings, which has a tenor of arrogance.” The Hawaiian Kingdom then went on to address the flaws of Nervell’s citing of State of Hawai‘i and federal court decisions regarding the Hawaiian Kingdom as they serve as precedent cases. Nervell fails to mention that these decisions are in personam, which only bind the litigants of that particular case, and not decisions in rem, which would apply to a thing, such as the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

All NERVELL cites in his reply is both State of Hawai‘i and federal court decisions regarding the Hawaiian Kingdom. These court decisions only reflect the allegations of facts made or not made by the defendants in the cases cited. It has no application to the instant case before this Court because these decisions are in personam and not in rem. What these decisions do provide, however, are instructional for defendants that claim the Hawaiian Kingdom exists in their particular case, to provide evidence of the Hawaiian State’s existence. NERVELL’S REPLY cites United States v. Lorenzo, where the court stated, “[t]he appellants have presented no evidence that the Sovereign Kingdom of Hawaii is currently recognized by the federal government (emphasis added).” The operative words here are “presented no evidence.”

NERVELL’s REPLY further goes on to cite Keliihuluhulu v. Keanaaina, where the federal court stated, “[a]s stated by the Hawai‘i Intermediate Court of Appeals (“ICA”), a statement that is as true now as it was when the ICA stated in 1994, ‘presently there is no factual (or legal) basis for concluding that the [Hawaiian] exists as a state in accordance with recognized attributes of a state’s foreign nature.’ Hawaii v. French, 77 Haw. 222, 228, 883 P.2d 644, 650 (CT. App. 1994) (quotations omitted) (emphasis added).” The operative word here is “presently.” In other words, these federal court decisions clearly state that the defendants provided no factual or legal evidence of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s existence as a State.

On the contrary, the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, as the Plaintiff, has provided “a factual (or legal) basis for concluding that the [Hawaiian] Kingdom exists as a state” despite the UNITED STATES admitted illegal overthrow of its government on January 17, 1893. The Amici also address the French case in their filed amicus brief [ECF 96].

“In Defendant County of Kaua‘i’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s original Complaint, the County cites Hawai‘i v. French, 77 Haw. 222, 228, 883 P.2d 644, 650 (Ct. App. 1994) in support of the statement that there is ‘no factual (or legal) basis for concluding that the [Hawaiian] Kingdom exists as a state in accordance with recognized attributes of a state’s sovereign nature. [ECF No. 15-1, Page ID #158]. This assertion is factually and legal incorrect. The 1994 ruling in French stands in stark contrast to the 2001 Arbitral Award of the Permanent Court of Arbitration of the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom and the PCA Annual Reports from 2000-2011, that explicitly found Hawai‘i to be a continued state to-date under international law (emphasis added).”

The Court’s Order granting permission for Amici to file their amicus brief stated that the “briefing ‘supplement[s] the efforts of counsel, and draw[s] the court’s attention to law that escaped consideration.’” As such, the amicus brief, which supplements the Amended Complaint regarding its jurisdictional statement, must also be considered true. Reinforcing the merit of the amicus is that the Court granted permission to the Amici to file their brief.

The Hawaiian Kingdom concludes its Response to the United States Statement of Interest with:

The jurisdiction of the Court as an Article II Court is consequential to the existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State. In the Lotus case, the Permanent Court of International Justice 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.” There is no permission from the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM giving its consent to the UNITED STATES, whether by its Congress or otherwise, to establish an Article III Court within the territorial jurisdiction of the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM. In the absence of consent by the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, authorization for this Court to transform into an Article II Court is by virtue of Article 43 of the Hague Regulations.

Until this Court transforms itself into an Article II Court, it is precluded from considering the relief sought by the UNITED STATES SOI and NERVELL’S MTD because, as an Article III Court, it does not possess subject matter and personal jurisdiction. In colloquial terms, the UNITED STATES, on behalf of the Consular Defendants, including NERVELL, appear to be asking for a chicken without first qualifying the egg. Furthermore, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Local Rules of the Court, and Court decisions, to include the United States Supreme Court, are instructional and not binding until the Court, as an Article II Court, declares otherwise in conformity with the laws of armed conflict—international humanitarian law.

What Role Does the Amicus Brief Serve in Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden?

In his Order granting approval for the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the National Lawyers Guild and the Water Protector Legal Collective (IADL-NLG-WPLC) to file their amicus brief, Federal Magistrate Judge Rom Trader explained the role of an amicus. He stated:

When determining whether to grant leave to file an amicus brief, courts consider whether the briefing “supplement[s] the efforts of counsel, and draw[s] the court’s attention to law that escaped consideration.” The amicus may be either impartial or interested individuals, whose function is to advise or make suggestions to the court. “The district court has broad discretion to appoint amici curiae.”

In other words, Judge Trader accepts that the amicus brief “supplements” the Hawaiian Kingdom’s position that the Court is presently not lawful as an Article III Court and must, therefore, assume jurisdiction as an Article II Court because it is located outside of the United States. Article II and Article III Courts reflect the authority of federal courts under the U.S. constitution to preside over civil and criminal matters. By allowing the filing of the amicus Judge Trader acknowledges that IADL-NLG-WPLC amicus‘ “function is to advise or make suggestions to the court.”

Article II refers to the authority of the President as commander and chief of the armed forces where federal courts can be established in foreign territory that is being occupied by the United States. Article III refers to the judiciary of the United States federal government where Article III Courts exist within the States of the Federal Union. Article III Courts do not exist in the territory of foreign States. According to Justice Story, in Picquet v. Swan, “no sovereignty can extend its process beyond its territorial limits, to subject either persons or property to its judicial decisions. Every exertion of authority beyond this limit is a mere nullity.”

To put it another way, Judge Trader has explicitly admitted there is merit to the position taken by the Hawaiian Kingdom and the authors of the amicus brief that presently the Court is not lawful until it assumes jurisdiction as an Article II Court because it is not located in the State of Hawai‘i but rather in the Hawaiian Kingdom as an occupied State. The amicus opened with:

The purpose of this brief is to bring to the Court’s attention customary international law norms and judicial precedent regarding Article II occupation courts that bear on the long-standing belligerent occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States at issue in this case.

In assessing the legality of the US occupation of Hawai‘i, the Court should be cognizant of customary international law and international human rights treaties that are incorporated into domestic law by virtue of Article IV, section 2 of the Constitution (the “Supremacy Clause”). International law, which includes treaties ratified by the United States as well as customary international law, is part of U.S. law and must be faithfully executed by the President and enforced by U.S. courts except when clearly inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution or subsequent acts of Congress

The question here is not whether the Hawaiian Kingdom has standing in an Article III court. The question is whether this court can sit as an Article II occupation court and whether the claims of the Hawaiian Kingdom can be redressed. The answer to both questions is yes.

In its conclusion, the amicus stated:

Under the concept of void ab initio, there are structures that have no legal effect from inception. The United States occupation of Hawai‘i began with unclean hands, and this can only be remedied by a clean slate and a new beginning. Recognition of the prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States through Declaratory Judgment is not only a redressable claim, it is long overdue and would only be consistent with what is already known to the international community and clear under international law. Additionally, granting the Hawaiian Kingdom injunctive relief would acknowledge the Kingdom’s continuous sovereignty, mitigate the United States’ liability for its war crimes against the Hawaiian people, and apply local law as required of an occupying power by the international law of war. Acknowledging extraterritoriality and occupation would have the practical effect of applying the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom but as was the case with prior occupation courts, this would not nullify any prior decisions of any of the courts currently operating in Hawai‘i, so long as they are not inconsistent with local law.

For the foregoing reasons, amici request that the Court consider U.S. obligations under international law, which forms part of U.S. law, in evaluating the long-standing occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

In his Order granting permission to file the amicus brief, Judge Trader also stated that he granted permission after he “carefully reviewed the Motion and attached brief, records and files in this case, and the applicable law.” This would include the Hawaiian Kingdom’s amended complaint. In its amended complaint, the Hawaiian Kingdom addressed the subject of jurisdiction of the court:

3.  While this court is operating within the territory of the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM and not within the territory of Defendant UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, its jurisdiction is found as a de facto Article II Court. According to Professor Bederman:

What, then, is distinctive about a court established under Article II of the Constitution? First, executive tribunals are established without an act of Congress or any other form of legislative concurrence. Congressional intent concerning the status of a presidential court is irrelevant because no congressional approval is needed. The fact that the President alone can create an executive court places it outside the scope of Article III of the Constitution, which demands that Congress shall establish courts inferior to the Supreme Court. Second, the executive courts are created pursuant only to the power and authority granted to the President in Article II of the Constitution. In practice, the only presidential power that would call for the creation of a court is that arising from his responsibility as Commander in Chief of the armed services and his subsequent war-making authority.

4. The authority for this Court to assume jurisdiction as a de facto Article II Court is fully elucidated in the Amicus Curiae brief previously lodged in these proceedings by virtue of the Motion for Leave to File Amicus Curiae Brief on July 30, 2021 [ECF 45] by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), and the Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC). The Amicus brief is instructional for the Court to transition to a de facto Article II Court.

5. An Article II Court was established in Germany after hostilities ceased in 1945 during the Second World War. After the surrender, western Germany came under belligerent occupation by the United States, France and Great Britain. The military occupation officially came to an end on May 5, 1955, with the entry into force of peace treaties called the Bonn Conventions between the Federal Republic of Germany and the three Occupying States. During the occupation, these Article II Courts had jurisdiction “over all persons in the occupied territory,” except for Allied armed forces, their dependents, and civilian officials, for “[a]ll offenses against the laws and usages of war[,] […] [a]ll offenses under any proclamation, law, ordinance, notice or order issued by or under the authority of the Military Government or of the Allied Forces, [and] [a]ll offenses under the laws of the occupied territory or any part thereof.”

6. Like the Article II Court in Germany, this Court has Jurisdiction as a de facto Article II Court because this action arises under international humanitarian law—law of armed conflict, which include the 1907 Hague Convention, IV (1907 Hague Regulations), the 1907 Hague Convention, V, the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV (1949 Fourth Geneva Convention), and Hawaiian Kingdom law. Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Regulations states:

The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.

7. The Court is authorized to award the requested declaratory and injunctive relief as a de facto Article II Court because it is situated within the territory of the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM that has been under a prolonged belligerent occupation by the United States of America since January 17, 1893.

8. Venue is proper because the events giving rise to this claim occurred in this District, and the Defendants are being sued in their official capacities.

By this action taken by Magistrate Judge Trader, the jurisdiction of the court is now front and center. If a court does not have jurisdiction over a case, which can be raised at any time throughout the proceedings, its decisions on any motion or even the complaint is void and without merit. This was explicitly stated by a federal court in Jalapeno Property Management, LLC v. Dukas, where a judgment is void only “if the court that rendered judgment lacked jurisdiction of the subject-matter, or of the parties, or acted in a manner inconsistent with due process.”

According to the rules, Judge Trader, as a Magistrate, is required to provide a report and recommendation to District Judge Leslie Kobayashi who serves as the trial Judge. It will be up to Judge Kobayashi to make a decision on transforming the Court from an Article III to an Article II Court. Prior to his report and recommendation, however, Judge Trader has the authority to appoint additional amicus briefs to be filed in order to address other matters not covered by the IADL-NLG-WPLC’s amicus.

This may be what Judge Trader is considering, because there are other matters that are related to Article II Courts such as procedural rules and appellate review of its decisions. Decisions by Article II Courts are not reviewable on appeal by Article III Appellate Circuit Courts as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. Article II Courts have their own procedural rules that are adopted and their own Appellate Courts that reside within the occupied territory.

In its amended complaint, the Hawaiian Kingdom brought this to the attention of the Court by referencing the establishment of Article II Courts in occupied Germany. The creation of these courts to include procedure and appeals stemmed from the Army War Department and published in the Federal Register on April 3, 1947 under Title 10. Judge Trader may very well consider asking for an amicus from the Staff Judge Advocate of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command on how Article II Courts, similar to those established in Germany, can be established in Hawai‘i. The Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is a named defendant in his official capacity.

Judge Trader has not provided any timeline for his report and recommendation to be completed.

Finland and India Close Their Hawai‘i Consulates

Finland and India followed suit with the Czech Republic that closed their consulates in Hawai‘i as a result of a federal lawsuit filed by the Hawaiian Kingdom against 30 foreign consulates and leadership of the Federal Government and the State of Hawai‘i for violations of international law, war crimes and human rights violations. In its Amended Complaint, the Hawaiian Kingdom alleges:

104. The PCA Administrative Council’s annual reports from 2000-2011 clearly states that the Defendant UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, as a member of the PCA Administrative Council, explicitly acknowledged the continued existence of the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM as a non-Contracting State to the 1907 PCA Convention as evidenced in the PCA Administrative Council’s annual reports. Unlike the ICA and the trial court in Lorenzo, the PCA did apply international law in their determination of the continued existence of the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM as an independent and sovereign State for jurisdictional purposes. As such, the treaties between the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM and the Defendant UNITED STATES OF AMERICA remain in full force and effect except where the law of occupation supersedes them. The other Contracting States with the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM in its treaties, which include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, are also members of the PCA Administrative Council and, therefore, their acknowledgment of the continuity of the Hawaiian State is also an acknowledgment of the full force and effect of their treaties with the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM except where the law of occupation supersedes them.

105. The Consular Corps Hawai‘i is comprised of 38 countries, 32 of which are also members of the PCA Administrative Council in The Hague, Netherlands. These countries include, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and the United Kingdom via the Australian Consulate.

106. §458 of the Hawaiian Civil Code states, “[n]o foreign consul, or consular or commercial agent shall be authorized to act as such, or entitled to recover his fees and perquisites in the courts of this Kingdom, until he shall have received his exequatur.” These consulates have not presented their credentials to the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM in order to receive exequaturs but rather received their exequaturs from the Defendant UNITED STATES OF AMERICA under the municipal laws of the United States.

107. In diplomatic packages sent to the foreign embassies in Washington, D.C., that maintain consulates in the territory of the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM by DAVID KEANU SAI, as Minister of Foreign Affairs ad interim, on April 15th and 20th of 2021, the Ambassadors were notified that their Consulates “within the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom is by virtue of ‘American municipal laws,’ which stand in violation of Hawaiian sovereignty and independence, and, therefore constitutes an internationally wrongful act.” The diplomatic note further stated that the “Council of Regency acknowledges that [foreign] nationals should be afforded remedial prescriptions regarding defects in their real estate holdings that have resulted from the illegal occupation in accordance with ‘laws and established customs’ of the Hawaiian Kingdom.” This subject is covered in the Royal Commission of Inquiry’s Preliminary Report re Legal Status of Land Titles throughout the Realm and its Supplemental Report re Title Insurance.”

108. The maintenance of Defendants’ foreign Consulates in the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom also constitutes acts of belligerency. On June 30, 2021, the Czech Republic filed a letter to this Court announcing the temporary closure of its Honorary Consulate in the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Hawaiian Kingdom acknowledges this act of State to be in conformity with Article 30(a) of Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (2001), whereby “[t]he State responsible for the internationally wrongful act is under an obligation (a) to cease that act, if it is continuing.” Article 30(b), however, states that the responsible State shall “offer appropriate assurances and guarantees of non-repetition, if circumstances so require.” The Czech Republic has yet to assure the government of the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM guarantees of non-repetition. Furthermore, Article 31 provides that the “responsible State is under an obligation to make full reparation for the injury caused by the internationally wrongful act,” and that the “[i]njury includes any damage, whether material or moral, caused by the internationally wrongful act of State.”

The closure of the Czech, Finnish and Indian Consulates are in conformity with Article 30(a) and (b) of the International Law Commission’s articles of Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (2001). As a result of the closure of their Consulates, the Czech Republic, Finland and India were dismissed from the lawsuit.

Press Release: Czech Republic Temporarily Closes its Hawai‘i Consulate After Being Notified that its Consulate Stands in Violation of International Law and Hawaiian Kingdom Law

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release – 23 August 2021
Contact: Dr. David Keanu Sai, Ph.D.
E-mail: interiorhk@hawaiiankingdom.org

Czech Republic Temporarily Closes its Hawai‘i Consulate After Being Notified that its Consulate Stands in Violation of International Law and Hawaiian Kingdom Law

HONOLULU, 23 August 2021 — In a letter dated 14 July 2021, U.S. Federal Magistrate Judge Rom Trader, who has been assigned the Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden et al. lawsuit, was notified by Josef Smycek, Deputy Consul General for the Czech Republic’s Consulate General in Los Angeles, that after receiving the Hawaiian Kingdom’s complaint where the Czech Republic’s Hawai‘i Consulate was named as a defendant it temporarily closed its “Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic” after consulting with “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic in Prague.”

Two weeks prior to the filing of the complaint, H.E. David Keanu Sai, Minister of Foreign Affairs ad interim, sent a letter of correspondence dated 20 April 2021 to H.E. Hynek Kmoníček, Czech Republic’s Ambassador to the United States, notifying him:

The Czech Republic’s Honorary Consulate within the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom is by virtue of ‘American municipal laws,’ which stand in violation of Hawaiian sovereignty and independence, and, therefore, constitutes an internationally wrongful act. As an occupied State, Hawaiian independence and sovereignty is preserved under the rules and principles of international law despite over a century of effective occupation and control of Hawaiian territory by the United States. In order to rectify this internationally wrongful act, the Council of Regency is ready to receive Mrs. Ching’s credentials as Honorary Consul and is prepared to grant an execquatur to the same.

Other Countries whose Ambassadors who were also notified that their Consulates in Hawai‘i are maintained in violation of international law include Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, and Thailand. Of these countries, the Hawaiian Kingdom has treaties with Australia, Austria-Hungary, who is the predecessor State of the Czech Republic, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden-Norway, Spain, and Switzerland.

After receiving no response from the Czech Republic nor any of the other countries, the Council of Regency filed its complaint with the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i. The complaint read:

§458 of the Hawaiian Civil Code states, “[n]o foreign consul, or consular or commercial agent shall be authorized to act as such, or entitled to recover his fees and perquisites in the courts of this Kingdom, until he shall have received his exequatur.” These consulates have not presented their credentials to the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM in order to receive exequaturs but rather received their exequaturs from the Defendant UNITED STATES OF AMERICA under the municipal laws of the United State.

In its amended complaint filed with the Court on 11 August 2021, the Hawaiian Kingdom acknowledges the closure of the Czech Republic’s Consulate as conforming to international law. The complaint read:

On June 30, 2021, the Czech Republic filed a letter to this Court announcing the temporary closure of its Honorary Consulate in the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Hawaiian Kingdom acknowledges this act of State to be in conformity with Article 30(a) of Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (2001), whereby “[t]he State responsible for the internationally wrongful act is under an obligation (a) to cease that act, if it is continuing.” Article 30(b), however, states that the responsible State shall “offer appropriate assurances and guarantees of non-repetition, if circumstances so require.” The Czech Republic has yet to assure the government of the HAWAIIAN KINGDOM guarantees of non-repitition. Furthermore, Article 31 provides that the “responsible State is under an obligation to make full reparation for the injury caused by the internationally wrongful act,” and that the “[i]njury includes any damage, whether material or moral, caused by the internationally wrongful act of State.”

According to Minister Sai, “all of the foreign consulates named in the complaint are Contracting States to the 1907 Convention that established the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). These defendants are also members of PCA Administrative Council, which include the Czech Republic, that publishes the PCA Annual Reports of 2000 through 2011 that acknowledge the Hawaiian Kingdom as a non-Contracting State in the arbitral dispute Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom.” “In other words,” stated Minister Sai, “these defendants were aware of the American occupation since, at least, the PCA Annual Report of 2000, and willfully and unlawfully maintained their Consulates in violation of international law.”

Minister Sai also served as lead agent for the Council of Regency in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, PCA case no. 1999-01, from 1999-2001, where the PCA explicitly acknowledged the Hawaiian Kingdom as a “State.” He is also the Head of the Royal Commission of Inquiry that recently published an eBook The Royal Commission of Inquiry: Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Professor Federico Lenzerini, a professor of international law at the University of Siena, Italy, explains, “As a scholar of international law, like most of my colleagues in Europe, I was not aware about the legal status of Hawai‘i as an independent State. Like most people, I considered Hawai‘i to be a State of the United States Federal Union. However, after a more in-depth research, and after having had the good fortune to interact with the people who struggle day after day for the recovery of the political and cultural identity of the Hawaiian Islands, I was amazed about the rich history of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign country and its political and diplomatic relations with Italy and many other countries of Europe, mainly based on treaties which are still valid today. In my legal opinion, I explain why the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as an independent State according to the rules of international law, and also provide the arguments confirming the full legitimacy of the Council of Regency, which possesses the authority of representing the Hawaiian Kingdom at the domestic as well as at the international level.”

For an authoritative legal explanation on the continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the authority of the Council of Regency see Professor Federico Lenzerini’s legal opinion on this subject. Professor Lenzerini was quoted by the Lidovky’s story, Surfem ke svobodě. Havajané se chtějí osamostatnit, na olympiádě touží mít vlastní vlajku. Professor Lenzerini is also Deputy Head of the Royal Commission of Inquiry. He can be contacted by email at: federico.lenzerini@unisi.it.

On January 13, 2020, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), the oldest and largest progressive bar association in the United States, called upon the United States to immediately begin to comply with international humanitarian law in its prolonged and illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since 1893. As the longest running occupation of a foreign country in the history of international relations, the United States has been in violation of international law for over a century.

In a letter to State of Hawai‘i Governor Ige dated November 10, 2020, the NLG called “upon the State of Hawai‘i and its County governments, as the proxy of the United States, which is in effective control of Hawaiian territory, to immediately comply with international humanitarian law while the United States continues its prolonged and illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since 1893.”

The position taken by the NLG was supported by a resolution that was passed by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) on February 7, 2021. The IADL is a non-governmental organization of human rights lawyers founded in 1946, with member associations throughout the world and with consultative status in the United Nations Economic and Social Committee. It’s headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium, and is dedicated to upholding international law and promoting the tenets of the UN Charter in furtherance of peace and justice.

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