Join the NLG International Committee’s CLE program on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, as part of the NLG Convention!
The four-hour CLE will take place at 9 am Pacific/12 pm Eastern time. To participate in the CLE, you must register for the NLG Convention. You can attend all Convention events as part of your registration – just follow the directions to create your schedule!
Please note, the NLG Convention is open to members and non-members! Sliding scale registration is available, with registration for the entire, all-digital convention beginning at $25 for NLG members and $50 for non-members. If you need a fee waiver in order to attend the CLE or the Convention as a whole, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a fee waiver or reduction.
Four CLE credits are available for this program, with presentations on humanitarian and human rights law and the U.S. occupations of Hawai’i, Afghanistan and Iraq, and Israel’s occupation of Palestine. (CLE Credit will be given through the State Bar of CA. After the convention, the NLG will be emailing out attendance verification forms to all attendees.)
On January 17, 1893, the Hawaiian Kingdom was invaded and its government overthrown by the United States empire, beginning a 126-year occupation and unlawful annexation of the Pacific nation. On October 7, 2001, the United States invaded the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, overthrew its government, and began a 19-year occupation of that Middle Eastern nation. Less than two years later on March 20, 2003, under the pretext that the Republic of Iraq had failed to abandon its weapons of mass destruction, the United States led the invasion, overthrow and continuing occupation of Iraq. The Israeli occupation of Palestine, continuing since 1947 and marked by the Nakba in 1948 when more than 700,000 Palestinians were forceably expelled from their homes and lands, has evolved, with full political and economic support of the U.S., into a belligerent expansion and occupation of territory of Palestine, Jordan, and Syria.
International humanitarian law, also known as the law of war or armed conflict, is the legal framework applicable to situations of armed conflict and occupation. An esteemed panel of international law experts will discuss and examine the application of these rules of law to illegal wars and occupations involving the United States. The panel will discuss the law of occupation which governs the relationship between the occupying power and those subject to belligerent occupation as well as the interplay between humanitarian law and international human rights law. The panel will also cover the legal mechanisms and remedies available to occupied peoples and nations, including Hawaii, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine, to challenge continuing occupation and violations of humanitarian and human rights.
Valentina Azarova, Ph.D. is an international legal academic and practitioner, who teaches and writes on foreign territorial control and the law of third state responsibility. She is Visiting Academic at the University of Manchester International Law Centre (England) and Associate Editor of the Oxford Reports on International Human Rights Law and United Nations Treaty Bodies. Dr. Azarova is legal advisor to the Global Legal Action Network and has over a decade of experience documenting and engaging in legal actions and advocacy to challenge processes of structural violence of armed conflict and occupation with a focus on third party complicity. She has worked with and regularly advises UN bodies and fact-finding missions, states and non-governmental organizations. She is the author of numerous articles on humanitarian law including that law of prolonged belligerent occupations and Israel’s occupation of Palestine. She co-founded the Human Rights and International law program at Al-Quds Bard College (Palestine) and has held positions at Birzeit University (Ramallah), and in Lebanon, Budapest, and Istanbul. She received her Ph.D. from the National University of Ireland’s Irish Centre for Human Rights.
Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law (San Diego) and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Professor Cohn has written extensively on war and humanitarian law, particularly on torture and targeted killings. She is the author of numerous law review articles and five books. In 2010, Professor Cohn debated the legality of the war in Afghanistan at the prestigious Oxford Union. A lifelong peace activist, Professor Cohn has provided expert testimony on the law of war and is the recipient of 2008 Peace Scholar of the Year Award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association among other awards for her work. She received her J.D. from the Santa Clara University School of Law.
Federico Lenzerini, Ph.D., is an associate professor of public international law and international human rights law at the University of Siena (Italy), a professor in the intercultural human rights program of the St. Thomas University School of Law (Miami). He is a UNESCO consultant and has served as a Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He is the author or editor of over one hundred academic articles and seven books. He received his Doctor of Law degree from the University of Siena and his Ph.D. degree in international law from the University of Bari (Italy).
Keanu Sai, Ph.D. is the Chairman of the Council of Regency and Acting Minister of the Interior of the provisional government of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Dr. Sai served as Agent for the Hawaiian Kingdom at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom. He is the editor of the recent book, Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom. Dr. Sai received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in political science specializing in international relations and public law from the University of Hawai’i where he also teaches. Dr. Sai co-chairs the Hawaiian Kingdom Subcommittee of the International Committee of the NLG.
In response to the prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States since 1893, and the commission of war crimes and human rights violations that continue to take place with impunity, the Royal Commission of Inquiry was established by the Council of Regency on April 17, 2019. The Council of Regency represented the Hawaiian Kingdom at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, PCA case no. 1999-01, from 1999-2001. The Royal Commission’s mandate is to “ensure a full and thorough investigation into the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom.”
Dr. David Keanu Sai was appointed as Head of the Royal Commission and he has commissioned recognized experts in various fields of international law who are the authors of chapters 3, 4 and 5 of this publication. These experts include Professor Matthew Craven, University of London, SOAS; Professor William Schabas, Middlesex University London; and Professor Federico Lenzerini, University of Siena.
Its first 378 page publication, Royal Commission of Inquiry: Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations in the Hawaiian Kingdom, provides information on the Royal Commission of Inquiry, Hawaiian Constitutional Governance, the United States Belligerent Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the Continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State, Elements of War Crimes committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom, and Human Rights violations and Self-determination. The Royal Commission will provide periodic reports of its investigation of war crimes committed by individual(s) that meet the constituent elements of mens rea and actus reus, and human rights violations.
There is no statute of limitation for war crimes but it is customary for individual(s) to be prosecuted for the commission of war crimes up to 80 years after the alleged war crime was committed given the life expectancy of individuals. As a matter of customary international law, States are under an obligation to prosecute individuals for the commission of war crimes committed outside of its territory or to extradite them for prosecution by other States or international courts should they enter their territory.
**The book is free of charge and authorization is given, in accordance with its copyright under Hawaiian law, to print in soft-cover or hard-cover so long as the content of the book is not altered or edited.
This past Monday
defense lawyers Dexter Kaiama and Stephen Laudig filed their response to the
State of Hawai‘i Attorney General’s opposition to their clients’ motion to
dismiss. They argued that the Attorney General “cannot be allowed to knowingly
and with intent benefit from the ‘war crime’ of usurpation of sovereignty that
consists in the ‘imposition of legislation or administrative measures by the
occupying power,’ which, in effect, leads to the violation of international law
by denying a Protected Person of the right to a fair and regular trial by a
properly constituted court. The prohibition of ‘war crimes’ is a jus cogens
norm under customary international law and neither the [Attorney General] nor
this Court can derogate from these peremptory norms.”
Kaiama and Laudig represent Deena Oana-Hurwitz, Loretta and Walter Ritte, Pualani Kanakaole-Kanahele, Kaliko Kanaele, Gene P.K. Burke, Alika Desha and Desmon Haumea. Both attorneys are also members of the National Lawyers Guild that “provides legal support to the movement demanding that the U.S., as the occupier, comply with international humanitarian and human rights law within Hawaiian Kingdom territory, the occupied.”
After state law enforcement officers
arrested 39 Kia‘i Mauna (protectors of the mountain) who were opposing
the building of the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea on July 17, 2019,
the Attorney General filed charges of obstruction in the Hilo District Court.
On behalf of the 8 defendants, Kaiama and Laudig filed their motions to dismiss
on November 13, 2019, which provided clear and unequivocal evidence that
because the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist under international law the
District Court “is not a regularly constituted court” and therefore does not
have lawful jurisdiction to preside over the case.
An opposition to the motion to
dismiss was filed by the Attorney General on December 6, 2019. In its
opposition, the Attorney General provided no counter evidence of the Hawaiian
Kingdom’s existence and that the Hawaiian Islands have never been lawfully a
part of the United States. Instead, the Attorney General argues three points as
to why Judge Kanani Lauback should deny defendants’ motion to dismiss. The
first argument is that the political question doctrine prevents courts from
adjudicating the legality of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the
validity of the State of Hawai‘i. Second, the legal status of the State of
Hawai‘i has been adjudicated. And, third, international law does not override
acts of Congress.
On December 9, Kaiama and Laudig
filed a reply that starts off by stating that the Attorney General’s “statement
of relevant facts violates the principle of jus cogens and is not relevant to
the Court’s consideration of the instant motion.” Jus cogens is a legal
term that federal courts say “enjoy[s] the highest status within international
law,” and as such cannot be denigrated. International crimes, which includes
war crimes, are jus cogens norms.
In its reply, the defense pointed out that the unlawful imposition of United States laws and administrative policies constitute a war crime under customary international law. For their evidence, the defense cited a legal opinion written by Professor William Schabas, a leading expert in international criminal law and war crimes, titled Legal opinion on war crimes related to the United States occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since 17 January 1893. The defense argues that all “three fit squarely within the provisions of United States internal law—being legislation and administrative rules, which customary international law precludes a State from invoking as justification for its failure to comply with Article 43 of the Hague Regulations.” Article 43 of the Hague Regulation is a ratified treaty by the United States that obligates an Occupying State to administer the laws of the Occupied State. In this case the Occupying State is the United States and the Occupied States is the Hawaiian Kingdom.
A hearing on the motion to dismiss is scheduled for 8:30am on Friday, December 13, 2019, at the Hilo District Court.
The following is one of the topics covered by Dr. Sai in his letter of July 9, 2019. Maui County Council member Tamara Paltin requested of Dr. Sai his insights into the proposed construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope. Dr. Sai’s letter is an attachment to Council member Paltin’s letter to University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner on July 12, 2019.
Invalidity of General Lease No. S-4191
Under General Lease No.
S-4191 dated June 21, 1968, the Board of Land and Natural Resources of the
State of Hawai‘i, as lessor, issued a 65-year lease to the University of
Hawai‘i with a commencement date of January 1, 1968 and a termination date of
December 31, 2033. The lease is comprised of 11,215.554 acres, more or less,
being a portion of Government lands of the ahupua‘a of Ka‘ohe situated at
Hamakua, Island of Hawai‘i identified under Tax May Key: 3rd/4.4.15:09.
The State of Hawai‘i claims
to have acquired title under Section 5(b) of the 1959 Hawai‘i Admissions Act,
Public Law 86-3 (73 Stat. 4), whereby “the United States grants to the State of
Hawaii, effective upon its admission into the Union, the United States’ title
to all public lands and other public property within the boundaries of the
State of Hawaii, title to which is held by the United States immediately prior
to its admission into the Union.” The United States derives its title from the
1898 Joint Resolution of Annexation (30 Stat. 750), which states
“Whereas the Government of the Republic of Hawaii having, in due form,
signified its consent, in the manner provided by its constitution…to cede and
transfer to the United States the absolute fee and ownership of all public,
Government, or Crown lands.”
The Republic of Hawai‘i proclaimed
itself on July 3, 1894, by a convention comprised of appointed members of the
Provisional Government and eighteen “elected” delegates. The Provisional
Government proclaimed itself on January 17, 1893 and claimed to be the
successor of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Hawaiian Kingdom’s title derives from
the 1848 Act Relating to the Lands of His Majesty The King and of the
Government, whereby the ahupua‘a of Ka‘ohe is “Made over to the Chiefs and
People, by our Sovereign Lord the King, and we do hereby declare those lands to
be set apart as the lands of the Hawaiian Government, subject always to the
rights of tenants.”
According to President Grover
Cleveland, in his message to the Congress after investigating the illegal
overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government that took place on January 17,
1893, the Provisional Government “was neither a government de facto nor de
jure.” He did
not consider it a government. The President also concluded that “the
provisional government owes its existence to an armed invasion by the United
States.” Being a
creature, or creation, of the US, it could not claim to be the lawful successor
of the Hawaiian Kingdom government with vested title to the ahupua‘a of Ka‘ohe.
As the successor to the Provisional Government, the Republic of Hawai‘i, as it
self-declared successor, could not take any better title than the Provisional
Government and hence did not have title to Ka‘ohe. The U.S. Congress in the
1993 Apology Resolution noted that the Republic of Hawai‘i was “self-declared.”
The United States claims to
have acquired title to Ka‘ohe, by cession, from the Republic of Hawai‘i under
the 1898 Joint Resolution of Annexation. International law recognizes that the
“only form in which a cession can be effected is an agreement embodied in a
treaty between the ceding and the acquiring State.” The Joint Resolution of
Annexation is not “an agreement embodied in a treaty.” It is a U.S. municipal
law from the Congress merely asserting that cession took place. The situation
is not unlike a neighbor holding a family meeting and claiming that they have
agreed that your house is now their house.
In a debate on the Senate
floor on July 4, 1898, Senator William Allen stated:
The Constitution and the statutes are territorial in their operation; that is, they can not have any binding force or operation beyond the territorial limits of the government in which they are promulgated. In other words, the Constitution and statutes can not reach across the territorial boundaries of the United States into the territorial domain of another government and affect that government or persons or property therein.
The joint resolution is ipso facto null and void.
In 1988, the U.S. Department
of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel (“OLC”) issued a legal opinion on the
lawfulness of the annexation of Hawai‘i by a joint resolution. In its
opinion, it cited constitutional scholar Westel Willoughby:
The constitutionality of the annexation of Hawaii, by a simple legislative act, was strenuously contested at the time both in Congress and by the press. The right to annex by treaty was denied, but it was denied that this might be done by a simple legislative act … Only by means of treaties, it was asserted, can the relations between States be governed, for a legislative act is necessarily without extraterritorial force—confined in its operation to the territory of the State by whose legislature it is enacted.
The OLC concluded, “It is
therefore unclear which constitutional power Congress exercised when it
acquired Hawaii by joint resolution. Accordingly, it is doubtful that the acquisition
of Hawaii can serve as an appropriate precedent for a congressional assertion
of sovereignty over an extended territorial sea.” The United States cannot produce
any evidence of a conveyance of the ahupua‘a of Ka‘ohe from a grantor, vested
with the title. All it can produce is a joint resolution of Congress. This is
not a conveyance from a foreign State ceding territory.
Instead of providing evidence
of a conveyance of territory, i.e. treaty of cession, the State of Hawai‘i
Supreme Court in its October 30, 2018 majority decision In Re Conservation District Use Application for TMT,
SCOT-17-0000777, quoted from a book titled Who Owns the Crown Lands of
Hawai‘i written by Professor Jon Van Dyke.
The U.S. Supreme Court gave tacit recognition to the legitimacy of the annexations of Texas and Hawaiʻi by joint resolution, when it said in De Lima v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 1, 196 (1901), that “territory thus acquired [by conquest or treaty] is acquired as absolutely as if the annexation were made, as in the case of Texas and Hawaii, by an act of Congress.” See also Texas v. White, 74 U.S. (7 Wall.) 700 (1868), stating that Texas had been properly admitted as a state in the United States.
It is unclear what Professor
Van Dyke meant when he stated that the U.S. Supreme Court “gave tacit
recognition to the legitimacy of the annexation of Texas and Hawai‘i by joint
resolution,” because tacit, by definition, is to be “understood without being
openly expressed or stated.”
Furthermore, this statement is twice irrelevant: first, the Court as a third
party to any cession of foreign territory has no standing to make such a
conclusion as to what occurred between the ceding and receiving States; and,
second, its opinion is a fabrication or what American jurisprudence calls a
legal fiction. Legal fictions treat “as true a factual assertion that plainly
was false, generally as a means to avoid changing a legal rule that required a
particular factual predicate for its application.”
According to Professor Smith,
a “judge deploys a new legal fiction when he relies in crafting a legal rule on
a factual premise that is false or inaccurate.” These “new legal fictions
often serve a legitimating function, and judges may preserve them—even in the
face of evidence that they are false—if their abandonment would have
The proposition that Texas
and Hawai‘i were both annexed by joint resolutions of Congress is clearly
false. In the case of Texas, Congress consented to the admission of Texas as a
State by joint resolution on March 1, 1845 with the following proviso, “Said
State to be formed, subject to the adjustment by this government of all
questions of boundary that may arise with other governments.” This condition
was referring to Mexico because as Texas was comprised of insurgents who were
fighting for their independence, Mexico still retained sovereignty and title to
the land. In its follow up joint resolution on December 29, 1845 that admitted
Texas as a State of the Union, it did state that the Congress consented “that
the territory properly included within, and rightfully belonging to, the
Republic of Texas.” These actions taken by the Congress is what sparked the
Mexican-American War in 1846.
Congress’ statement of
“rightfully belonging” is an opinion and the resolution mentions no boundaries.
The transfer of title to the territory, which included the territory comprising
Texas, came three years later on February 2, 1848 in a treaty of peace that
ended the Mexican-American War.
Under Article V of the treaty, the new boundary line between the United States and Mexico was to be drawn. “The boundary line between the two republics shall commence in the Gulf of Mexico, three leagues from land, opposite the mouth of the Rio Grande, otherwise called Rio Bravo del Norte.” Rio Brava del Norte is the southern tip of Texas. If Texas was indeed annexed in 1845 by a joint resolution with its territory intact, there was no reason for the treaty to specifically include the territory of Texas. If it were true that Texas territory was ceded in 1845, Article V of the treaty would have started the boundary line just west of the Texas city of El Paso, which is its western border, and not from the Gulf of Mexico at its southern border. The truth is that the territory of Texas was not annexed by Congress in 1845 but was ceded by Mexico in 1848. The Rio Grande river is the southern border for the State of Texas.
With regard to the so-called
annexation of Hawai‘i in 1898 by Congress, there is no treaty ceding Hawaiian
territory as in the case of Texas. Like the Texas resolution, Congress stated,
Whereas the Government of the Republic of Hawaii having, in due form, signified its consent, in the manner provided by its constitution to ceded absolutely and without reserve to the United States of America all rights of sovereignty of whatsoever kind in and over the Hawaiian Islands and their dependencies, and also to cede and transfer to the United States the absolute fee and ownership of all public, Government, or Crown lands, public buildings or edifices, ports, harbors, military equipment, and all other public property of every kind and description belonging to the Government of the Hawaiian Islands, together with every right and appurtenance thereunto appertaining…
The reference to consent by
its constitution is specifically referring to Article 32, which states, the
“President, with the approval of the Cabinet, is hereby expressly authorized
and empowered to make a Treaty of Political or Commercial Union between the
Republic of Hawaii and the United States of America, subject to the
ratification of the Senate.” There
is no treaty between the so-called Republic of Hawai‘i and the United States.
Furthermore, a constitutional provision is not an instrument of conveyance as a
treaty would be. So without a treaty from the Hawaiian Kingdom government as
the ceding State vested with the sovereignty and title to government lands,
which includes the ahupua‘a of Ka‘ohe, there was no change in the ownership of
the government lands.
Furthermore, Hawaiians of the
day knew there was no treaty as evidenced in the Maui News newspaper published
October 20, 1900. The Editor wrote,
Thomas Clark, a candidate for Territorial senator from Maui holds that it was an unconstitutional proceeding on the part of the United States to annex the Islands without a treaty, and that as a matter of fact, the Island[s] are not annexed, and cannot be, and that if the democrats come into power they will show the thing up in its true light and demonstrate that that the Islands are de facto independent at the present time.
The legal fiction that Texas
and Hawai‘i were annexed by a joint resolution of the Congress is just a patently
false when measured “against the results of existing empirical research.” For
the State of Hawai‘i Supreme Court to restate, and embrace, this falsifiable
legal fiction is simply a trick that allows it to fabricate its own false and falsifiable
fiction regarding the State of Hawai‘i. In its TMT decision the Court, in conflict
with overwhelming evidence, stated, “[W]e reaffirm that ‘[w]hatever may be said
regarding the lawfulness’ of its origins, ‘the State of Hawai‘i…is now a lawful
the State of Hawai‘i to be a “lawful government” it must be vested with lawful
authority absent of which it is not lawful. The State of Hawai‘i Supreme Court,
being a branch of the State of Hawai‘i itself, cannot declare it “is now a
lawful government” without making reference to some intervening factor that
vested the State of Hawai‘i with lawful authority.
When addressing the lawful
authority and sovereignty of the United States of America, the United States
Supreme Court specifically referred to a particular and significant intervening
factor. It stated that as “a result of the separation from Great Britain by the
Colonies, acting as a unit, the powers of external sovereignty passed from the
Crown not to the Colonies severally, but to the Colonies in their collective
and corporate capacity as the United States of America.” The Court was
referring to “the Treaty of Paris of September 3, 1783, by which Great Britain
recognized the independence of the United States.”
It has been erroneously assumed
that the US Congress vested the State of Hawai‘i with lawful authority in the
1959 Statehood Act in an
exercise of the constitutional authority of Congress to admit new States into
the Federal union under Article IV, section 3, clause 1. There is no provision
in the US constitution for the admission of a state to the union that is on
territory not owned by the US. So before the US Congress can admit a new State
to the US the US must “own” the territory. According to the United States
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.
Since the Hawaiian Islands
were never annexed by the United States via treaty, Congressional acts, which are
municipal laws, may only operate on the territory of the United States. The
United States Supreme Court is relatively clear on this point and has stated
that the “municipal laws of one nation do not extend in their operation beyond
its own territory except as regards its own citizens.” In another decision, the
United States Supreme Court reiterated, that “our Constitution, laws and
policies have no extraterritorial operation unless in respect of our own
Under international law, the United
States is an occupying power in the Hawaiian Islands and as such the occupying
Power is obligated, under Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, and
Article 64 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV, to administer Hawaiian Kingdom
laws. In his communication to the members of the Judiciary of the State of
Hawai‘i of February 25, 2018, the United Nations Independent Expert, Dr. Alfred
deZayas, reiterated this obligation under international law.
I have come to understand that the lawful political status of the Hawaiian Islands is that of a sovereign nation-state in continuity; but a nation-state that is under a strange form of occupation by the United States resulting from an illegal military occupation and fraudulent annexation. As such, international laws (the Hague and Geneva Conventions) require that governance and legal matters within the occupied territory of the Hawaiian Islands must be administered by the application of the laws of the occupied state (in this case, the Hawaiian Kingdom), not the domestic laws of the occupier (the United States) (Enclosure “6”).
The United States never
acquired any kind of title to Ka‘ohe and, since one can only convey what one
has, it could not convey what it did not have to the State of Hawai‘i under
Section 5(b) of the 1959 Admissions Act. Thus the State of Hawai‘i was never
lawfully vested with any title to the ahupua‘a of Ka‘ohe, and therefore its so-called
general lease no. S-4191 to the University of Hawai‘i dated June 21, 1968 is
defective. Under Hawaiian Kingdom law, the ahupua‘a of Ka‘ohe is government
land under the management of the Ministry of
the Interior and not the State of Hawai‘i Board of Land and Natural
Resources. Consequently, all 10 subleases from the University of Hawai‘i that
extend to December 31, 2033 are defective as well, which include:
National Aeronautics and Space
Administration dated November 29, 1974;
Corporation dated December 18, 1975;
Science Research Council dated
January 21, 1976;
California Institute of Technology
dated December 20, 1983;
Science and Engineering Research
Council dated February 10, 1984;
California Institute of Technology
dated December 30, 1985;
Associated Universities, Inc., dated
September 28, 1990;
National Astronomical Observatory of
Japan dated June 5, 1992;
National Science Foundation dated
September 26, 1994; and
Smithsonian Institution dated
September 28, 1995.
As such, the University of Hawai‘i’s sublease to TMT International Observatory, LLC, is also defective. Therefore, the University of Hawai‘i cannot sublease what it does not have to TMT International Observatory LLC.
WAILUKU, Hawaii – In an urgent plea, Maui County Council member Tamara Paltin announced that she has asked University of Hawaii President David Lassner to put a hold on moving forward with the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (“TMT”) planned for the summit of Mauna Kea.
Paltin issued a letter of inquiry to President Lassner on Friday, July 12th in response to Governor Ige’s news conference last week announcing that construction would begin next week on July 15th. In her letter Paltin expressed “grave concerns for the safety of Maui County’s residents and all individuals mobilizing to access and assemble atop Mauna Kea.”
It is anticipated that kupuna to keiki and all ages in betweenfrom all islands will be present to exercise traditional Native Hawaiian cultural and religious access, as well as protest the construction of the TMT. With emotions high, extreme weather conditions, law enforcement presence and talk of the potential deployment of LRAD (Long-Range Acoustic Hailing Devices) for crowd control, Councilmember Paltin fears for the safety and protection of all who will be present on the summit.
Councilmember Paltin sought out insight from Dr. Keanu Sai who has served as a resource for and provided training presentations to the Council’s Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee, of which Paltin chairs, concerning the proposed construction of the TMT on the summit of Mauna Kea, in light of the ahupua`a of Ka`ohe being so-called ceded lands.
Paltin’s letter reiterates Dr. Sai’s focus on three topics underlying the proposed TMT construction: the invalidity of General Lease No. S-4191 between the State of Hawai`i Board of Land and Natural Resources, as the lessor, and the University of Hawai`i, as the lessee; the war crime of destruction of property on the summit of Mauna Kea by the previous telescopes; and the third topic of native tenant rights within the ahupua`a of Ka`ohe, and describes Dr. Sai’s response as “quite illuminating to say the least.”
Councilmember Paltin requested that President Lassner have the University’s legal counsel review Dr. Sai’s assessment of the situation, and stated that, “this is not a political issue, but an issue of the rule of law, which is foundational, and for our communities throughout the islands to have confidence that the State of Hawai`i officials, to include the Counties, believe in and abide by.”
A full copy of Councilmember Tamara Paltin’s letter to UH President Lassner can be located at mauicounty.us/paltin/.
For more information, please contact Councilmember Paltin’s office.
(BIVN)– The Hawaiʻi County Council again heard testimony from “protected persons” in support of absent Puna councilmember Jen Ruggles on Wednesday.
Hawaiian Kingdom subjects and advocates, as they have in the past, told the council to “cease and desist from legislating” until the county’s Corporation Counsel can assure the governing body that they are not incurring criminal liability under U.S. and international law. Ruggles’ council seat has sat empty during meetings as she awaits an opinion from Corp Counsel.
On September 24, Ruggles held a community meeting in Keaʻau to explain her ongoing absence from council, and to show her constituents how she came to understand the Hawaiian Kingdom still exists as a state in continuity that is under a “strange form of occupation” by the United States.
During the Keaʻau meeting, and in a subsequent media release, Ruggles announced she was putting Queen’s Health Systems on notice, saying that changes to the hospital’s charter since 1909 “appear to violate article 47 and 50 of the Geneva Convention IV.” Ruggles said she called upon the Chief Executive Office of the Queen’s Health System, Mr. Art Ushijima, and the “Board of Trustees to comply with the 1859 Charter and to admit aboriginal Hawaiians, as that term was understood under Kingdom law, for medical care free of charge. Failure to do so [would] appear to constitute war crimes under Article 47 and 50 of the [Geneva Convention, IV].”
Ruggles said, “as an agent of the the United States as defined under the Hague Convention and whistleblower, it is my duty to hold individuals and other officials of the State of Hawai‘i and the United States government accountable for apparent violations of the Hague and Geneva Conventions and the rights of civilians within the occupied territory under the title of protected persons.”
Ruggles’ fellow Hawaiʻi County Councilmembers weighed-in on the situation in recent news articles. A “perplexed” Hilo councilman Aaron Chung told the Hawaiʻi Tribune-Herald he found it very confusing that Ruggle’s “would use her title in the County Council to advance a particular position.”
The West Hawaiʻi Today reported on October 2 that Council Chair Valerie Poindexter said she was “not going to fund the office if she’s not going to do any more legislative work,” and has refused Ruggles’ request to hire a council aide to fill the position recently vacated by one of Ruggles’ two staffers.
Testifiers took aim at Poindexter on Wednesday. Kale Gumapac told the chair to “please be aware that by impeding Councilwoman Ruggles in anyway only provides more evidence for ‘War Crime’ charges against you with no statute of limitation.”
Council member Jen Ruggles released a letter she sent last week notifying Queen’s Health Systems of the illegal and prolonged occupation of Hawai’i and how it appears it may be violating the rights of protected persons in Hawai’i. She stated that she, as an agent for the United States, which is an occupying Power, and one who took an oath to support the constitution of the United States, is bound to uphold the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, and the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV, and ensure respect for the conventions in all circumstances.
In her letter Council member Ruggles referenced a February 25, 2018 communication from United Nations Independent Expert, Dr. Alfred M. deZayas, to the State of Hawai‘i judges in which he stated:
“I have come to understand that the lawful political status of the Hawaiian Islands is that of a sovereign nation-state in continuity; but a nation-state that is under a strange form of occupation by the United States resulting from an illegal military occupation and a fraudulent annexation. As such, international laws (the Hague and Geneva Conventions) require that governance and legal matters within the occupied territory of the Hawaiian Islands must be administered by the application of the laws of the occupied state (in this case, the Hawaiian Kingdom), not the domestic laws of the occupier (the United States).”
The U.S. Senate ratified the Hague and Geneva Conventions making both of these treaties part of federal law under Article VI of the federal constitution and which must be faithfully carried out in territory that the United States is occupying. As a whistle blower, Council member Ruggles sees it as her duty to hold individuals and other officials of the State of Hawai‘i and the United States government accountable for violations of the provisions of the Hague and Geneva Conventions and the rights of civilians within the occupied territory under the title of protected persons.
Council member Ruggles came to learn that the Queen’s Hospital was formed as a corporation on June 20, 1859. Article One of the Hospital’s Charter provides for the establishment of a permanent hospital for the “treatment of indigent sick and disabled Hawaiians, as well as such foreigners and others who may choose to avail themselves of the same.” It was understood, at the time, that the term ‘Hawaiians’ meant aboriginal Hawaiians, both pure and part. Under the Charter, the Hawaiian Monarch served as President of a Board of Trustees comprised of ten persons to be appointed by the government and ten persons to be elected by corporation shareholders.
The government appropriated funding for the maintenance of the hospital.
In 1900, George W. Smith, a Trustee of Queen’s Hospital, stated in an article published by the Pacific Commercial Advertiser that “Queen’s Hospital is, from the nature of its charter, a quasi-private institution. When it was chartered it was provided that all Hawaiians of native birth, should be treated free of charge. Foreigners were to be treated by payment of fees.”
No other country or government in the world at the time is known by her to have had such a system of government subsidized health care for a majority of its national population which was free of charge. The Soviet government followed this practice in 1920, but that was due to the political theory of communism. After the Second World War, in 1948, the British government followed suit, which, like the Hawaiian Kingdom, was not a communist State. The Nordic countries followed with Sweden in 1955, Iceland in 1956, Norway in 1956, Denmark in 1961, and Finland in 1964. The United States has never subsidized health care free of charge.
After pressure to sever the Hawaiian government’s interest in Queen’s Hospital and to no longer admit native Hawaiians free of charge, the Board of Trustees, with the approval of Territorial Governor, Walter F. Frear, amended the Charter. In 1909, the phrase in the original 1859 Charter “for the treatment of indigent sick and disabled Hawaiians” was replaced with “for the treatment of sick and disabled persons.” The change was made secretively. The only news coverage it received at the time was in one newspaper, the Evening Bulletin, which made no mention of the change of servicing aboriginal Hawaiians free of charge. Under the title of “IS APPROVED TRUSTEES REDUCED,” the Bulletin wrote,
“By the new amendment to their character, the application for which was approved by Governor Frear this morning, the number of trustees of Queen’s Hospital will be reduced from twenty to seven members. The responsibility of the government trusteeship will also cease with the new articles of incorporation.”
By 1939, Victor Stewart Kaleoaloha Houston, a former Congressional delegate for the Territory of Hawai‘i, “was presenting lectures at various Hawaiian Civic Clubs castigating Queen’s Hospital for ignoring Native Hawaiians’ medical needs and reneging on the promises of the original charter. In newspapers the main themes of Houston’s one man challenge to Queen’s practices was set out for the public by these questions: What ever happened to free medical care for Hawaiians and what is Queen’s doing with the Queen Emma Trust monies?”
Gradually aboriginal Hawaiians were denied health care unless they paid, and as time went on, this provision of the Queen’s Hospital charter was nearly forgotten. In 1967, the name of Queen’s Hospital was changed to the Queen’s Medical Center. In 1985, the Queen’s Health Systems with a Board of Trustees was established as the parent company of Queen’s Medical Center along with Molokai General Hospital, North Hawai‘i Community Hospital, Queen Emma Land Company, Queen’s Development Corporation, and Queen’s Insurance Exchange. Under Queen’s Health Systems there are four hospitals—The Queen’s Medical Center, The Queen’s Medical Center – West O‘ahu, Molokai General Hospital, and North Hawai‘i Community Hospital—and seven health care centers in Hawai‘i Kai, Hilo, two in Honolulu, Kapolei, Kaua‘i and Kona. I will refer to the corporation by its original name, the Queen’s Hospital.
Hawaiian subjects of aboriginal blood, both pure and part, are protected persons whose rights during the U.S. occupation are protected under the Geneva Convention. Council member Ruggles sees that it is also her duty as a whistle blower and agent for the United States to ensure that their rights are respected and enforced. According to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, “Today, Native Hawaiians are perhaps the single racial group with the highest health risk in the State of Hawai‘i. This risk stems from high economic and cultural stress, lifestyle and risk behaviors, and late or lack of access to health care.” The ‘lack of access to health care’ is what troubles Council member Ruggles knowing that the Queen’s Hospital was specifically established, under Hawaiian Kingdom law, to provide for their health care, free of charge.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross Commentaries, Article 47 of the Geneva Convention means that “changes made in the internal organization of the State must not lead to protected persons being deprived of the rights and safeguards provided them. Consequently it must be possible for the Convention to be applied to them in its entirety, even if the Occupying Power has introduced changes in the institutions or government of the occupied territory.” Furthermore, under the provisions of Article 50 of the GCIV regarding preferential measures for children’s medical care, in this case with the Queen’s Hospital, the occupying State “who occupied the whole or part of a territory where such measures are in force, cannot on any pretext abrogate them or place obstacles in the way of their application. This rule applies not only to preferential measures prescribed in the Convention but to any other measures of the same nature taken by the occupied State.”
Council member Ruggles stated that the changes to the charter since 1909 violate the Hague and Geneva Conventions. In light of these violations, she called upon the Chief Executive Office of the Queen’s Health System, Mr. Art Ushijima, and the “Board of Trustees to comply with the 1859 Charter and to admit aboriginal Hawaiians, as that term was understood under Kingdom law, for medical care free of charge. Failure to do so [would] appear to constitute to constitute war crimes under Article 47 and 50 of the [Geneva Convention, IV].”
Council member Ruggles alerted Mr. Ushijima to the fact that there “seems to be a direct nexus of deaths of aboriginal Hawaiians as ‘the single racial group with the highest health risk in the State of Hawai‘i [that] stems from…late or lack of access to health care’ to the crime of genocide as defined by the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The Genocide Convention was also ratified by the United States Senate, and, like the Hague and Geneva Conventions, are a part of United States federal law.
(BIVN)– A community meeting organized by Puna councilwoman Jen Ruggles to explain her ongoing absence from council drew a standing room-only crowd to the Keaʻau Community Center on Monday night.
Ruggles declared on August 21 “that she had come to understand that she may be in violation of her oath of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution and may be incurring criminal liability under both U.S. federal law and international law,” a media release stated. “Through her attorney, Stephen Laudig, she formally requested the County Office of Corporation Counsel provide her a proper legal opinion.”
Laudig was present at the meeting, as was Dr. David Keanu Sai, a scholar and expert in international law. Sai has also served as the lead agent for the Hawaiian Kingdom in international arbitration proceedings before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, Netherlands.
Using a power point presentation projected onto the community center wall, Ruggles walked constituents through her understanding of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a state in continuity that is under a “strange form of occupation” by the United States. Ruggles shared letters she received that prompted her to make her decision, and took questions from the audience.
In an earlier media release, Ruggles said she intended “to educate her constituents on their rights as protected persons under U.S. and international law, and share what work she has started to continue to represent and advocate on behalf of her district.”
(BIVN)– In lengthy public testimony before the Hawaii County Council meeting got underway in Hilo on Wednesday, Hawaiian Kingdom supporters spoke out in support of absent councilwoman Jen Ruggles, and demanded the council “cease and desist” legislative activity.
Ruggles’ seat was empty as the councilmember from Puna announced she would “refrain from legislating” until the county’s corporation counsel can provide a “proper legal opinion” that will assure her that she “is not incurring criminal liability under international humanitarian law and U.S. law.”
Ruggles’ recent decisionwas not on the Wednesday’s council agenda for discussion, so testifiers seeking to support Ruggles’ position spoke on other matters, such as Bill 160 – a measure that amends the County Code of Ethics by requiring that officials “provide accurate and factual information to the public” to the best of their knowledge.
Public testifiers – both Hawaiian Kingdom subjects as well as American citizens – identified themselves as protected persons as defined under Article 4 of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention. Many read from similarly worded written testimony.
“I too have come to learn that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist as an independent and sovereign State that has been under an illegal and prolonged occupation by the United States since January 17, 1893,” stated Kale Gumapac, who testified in Hilo. “I am also aware that the United Nations Independent Expert Dr. Alfred deZayas sent a memorandum to members of the State of Hawai‘i judiciary which stated ‘international laws (the Hague and Geneva Conventions) require that governance and legal matters within the occupied territory of the Hawaiian Islands must be administered by the application of the laws of the occupied state (in this case, the Hawaiian Kingdom), not the domestic laws of the occupier (the United States).’ And according to Amnesty International, war crimes are crimes that violate the laws or customs of war defined by the Hague and Geneva Conventions.”
“Article 43 of the Hague Regulations and Article 64 of the Fourth Geneva Convention obligates the United States to administer Hawaiian Kingdom law, not United States law,” Gumapac continued. “This deliberate in failure by the United States to administer Hawaiian kingdom law has led to grave breaches under Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law. which constitutes war crimes committed against me as a protected person.”
Gumapac finished with a statement that was often repeated by others speakers on Wednesday. “This body illegally enacts United States laws in violation of the Hague and Geneva Conventions and as a victim of war crimes that stem from this unlawful legislation, I demand that this body immediately cease and desist,” Gumapac said.
Multiple testifiers spoke for roughly two hours before the Hawaii County Council closed public comment and went ahead with the scheduled agenda.
On August 29, 2018, Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia Rhonda L. Campbell sent a communication to Dr. David Keanu Sai, Chairman of the Council of Regency and Petitioner for an extension to respond to the Emergency Petition for Writ of Mandamus filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
“Sir: I will be requesting a 30-day extension of time, to and through, October 10, 2018, to Answer or otherwise respond to your complaint. Please inform me of your position. Thank you.”
Dr. Sai responded later that day:
“Ma’am: Notwithstanding the emergency nature of the petition for writ of mandamus, I am agreeable to your request.”
For immediate release – 17 July 2018
Petition for an Emergency Writ of Mandamus filed with U.S. Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., against President Trump regarding the prolonged American occupation of the Hawaiian Islands
[David Keanu Sai vs. Donald John Trump et. al, Case: 1:18-cv-01500]
HONOLULU, 17 July 2018 — On Monday morning, 25 June 2018, the Chairman of the acting Council of Regency for the Hawaiian Kingdom, H.E. David Keanu Sai, Ph.D., filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia a Petition for an Emergency Writ of Mandamus against President Donald John Trump. This Petition concerns the illegal and prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Islands and the failure of the United States to administer the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom as mandated under Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (36 Stat. 2199) and under Article 64 of the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV, Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (6 U.S.T. 3516). The United States has ratified both treaties. The case has been assigned to Judge Tanya S. Chutkan under civil case no. 1:18-cv-01500.
Under American rules of civil procedure, a petition for writ of mandamus is an administrative remedy that seeks to compel an officer or employee of the United States or any of its agencies to fulfill their official duties. It is not a complaint alleging certain facts to be true. The Hague and Geneva Conventions obligates the United States, as an occupying State, to administer the laws of the occupied State. There is no discretion on this duty to administer Hawaiian Kingdom law. This duty is mandated under international humanitarian law.
Furthermore, according to the U.S. Constitution, treaties, such as the Hague and Geneva Conventions, are the supreme law of the land, and the United States is bound by them just as they are bound by the U.S. Constitution or any of the laws enacted by the Congress. Consequently, the failure of the United States to administer Hawaiian Kingdom laws has created a humanitarian crisis of unimaginable proportions where war crimes have and continue to be committed with impunity. War crimes have no statutes of limitation.
The Petition mentions Iraq’s violation of international humanitarian law when it invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990, and, like the United States, did not administer Kuwaiti law as mandated by the Hague and Geneva Conventions. This led to the formation of the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) by the United Nations Security Council under resolution 687 (1991). The mandate of the UNCC was to process claims and pay compensation for losses or damages incurred as a direct result of Iraq’s unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait. In total, the UNCC awarded $52.4 billion dollars for an unlawful occupation that lasted seven months. If this formula is applied to the unlawful invasion and occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since 16 January 1893 that compensation amount would be staggering.
This law suit comes on the heels of a memorandum, dated 25 February 2018, by the United Nations Independent Expert, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to the members of the judiciary of the State of Hawai‘i. The memo’s author, Dr. Alfred deZayas, who served as the Independent Expert until he retired on 30 April 2018, stated:
“As a professor of international law, the former Secretary of the UN Human Rights Committee, co-author of book, The United Nations Human Rights Committee Case Law 1977-2008, and currently serving as the UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, I have come to understand that the lawful political status of the Hawaiian Islands is that of a sovereign nation-state in continuity; but a nation-state that is under a strange form of occupation by the United States resulting from an illegal military occupation and a fraudulent annexation. As such, international laws (the Hague and Geneva Conventions) require that governance and legal matters within the occupied of the Hawaiian Islands must be administered by the application of the laws of the occupied state (in this case, the Hawaiian Kingdom), not the domestic laws of the occupier (the United States).”
In the Petition, the Hawaiian Kingdom begins with a preliminary statement concerning international proceedings held at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, Netherlands.
“When the South China Sea Tribunal cited in its award on jurisdiction the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdomcase held at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (“PCA”), that should have garnered international attention, especially after the PCA acknowledged the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent state and not the fiftieth State of the United States of America. The Larsen case was a dispute between a Hawaiian national and his government, who he claimed was negligent for allowing the unlawful imposition of American laws over Hawaiian territory that led to the alleged war crimes of unfair trial, unlawful confinement and pillaging.”
Chairman Sai served as Agent for the Hawaiian government in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, PCA Case no. 1999-01. Before forming the ad hoc tribunal, the PCA acknowledged the Hawaiian Kingdom’s continued existence as an independent State and that the Hawaiian Kingdom would access the jurisdiction of the PCA as a non-Contracting Power pursuant to Article 47 of the 1907 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes.
Chairman Sai stated, “the United States, as an occupier, is mandated to administer Hawaiian Kingdom law over Hawaiian territory and not its own, until they withdraw. This is not a mere descriptive assumption by the occupying State, but rather it is the law of occupation. And this was precisely what the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom arbitration was founded on—the unlawful imposition of American laws.” In 2001, Bederman and Hilbert reported in the American Journal of International Law:
“At the center of the PCA proceedings was…that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist and that the Hawaiian Council of Regency (representing the Hawaiian Kingdom) is legally responsible under international law for the protection of Hawaiian subjects, including the claimant. In other words, the Hawaiian Kingdom was legally obligated to protect Larsen from the United States’ “unlawful imposition [over him] of [its] municipal laws” through its political subdivision, the State of Hawaii. As a result of this responsibility, Larsen submitted, the Hawaiian Council of Regency should be liable for any international law violations that the United States had committed against him.”
The Tribunal was comprised of three renowned international jurists, namely, Judge James Crawford, SC, current member of the International Court of Justice, Judge Christopher Greenwood, QC, former member of the International Court of Justice, and Dr. Gavan Griffith, former Australian Solicitor General.
Larsen sought to have the Tribunal adjudge that the United States had violated his rights. He then sought the Tribunal to adjudge that the Hawaiian government was liable for those violations. Although the United States was formally invited, by the Hawaiian government, to join in the arbitration on 3 March 2000, it chose not to. The United States absence thus raised the indispensable third-party rule for Larsen to overcome. In its award (para. 7.4), however, the Tribunal acknowledged the Hawaiian Kingdom’s lawful political status since the nineteenth century.
“[I]n 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.”
After returning from oral hearings held at The Hague in December of 2000, the Council of Regency adopted a policy of education and exposure of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s lawful political status as an independent State. The Council made this decision to address the American policy of denationalization—Americanization that was implemented throughout the schools in the islands since 1906. Denationalization is a war crime. Within three generations, Americanization had effectively obliterated the national consciousness of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the minds of Hawai‘i’s people. This denationalization has resulted in a common misunderstanding that since President Barrack Obama was born in Hawai‘i, he was born within the United States. He was not. He was born in the Hawaiian Kingdom to an American mother and a Kenyan father. As such, he was born an American citizen by parentage—jus sanguinis, but not as a natural born citizen—jus soli.
It would take 18 years of education and exposure to prompt the Hawaiian government to file the Petition for Emergency Writ of Mandamus. The Petition was filed with the Federal Court in accordance with 28 U.S.C. §1331 (federal question jurisdiction), 28 U.S.C. §1651(a) (writ of mandamus), and 5 U.S.C. §702 (waiver of sovereign immunity). The Petition also names as nominal respondents twenty-eight countries that had diplomatic relations with the Hawaiian Kingdom to include treaties, and five international agencies. All of the respondents received a copy of the filed Petition, through the United States Postal Service, with a cover letter noting that a summons would be forthcoming.
In his letter to the United Nations Secretary General, Chairman Sai invoked the law of State responsibility. Chairman Sai stated:
“As an internationally wrongful act, all States shall not ‘recognize as lawful a situation created by a serious breach within the meaning of Article 40, nor render aid or assistance in maintaining that situation (Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, 2001),’ Article 40 provides that a ‘breach of such an obligation is serious if it involves a gross or systemic failure by the responsible State to fulfill the obligation.’ By letter to United States President Donald John Trump dated 5 July 2018, the Hawaiian Kingdom gave notice of claim and invoked responsibility of the United States, in accordance with Article 43, for a serious breach of an obligation to comply with international humanitarian law.”
Chairman Sai then made the following request to the Secretary General:
“As a State not a member of the United Nations, but a member of the Universal Postal Union since 1882, being a specialized agency of the United Nations, I should be grateful if you would have this letter and the full text of its enclosures circulated as an official document of the General Assembly and of the Security Council.”
The United States has been in an illegal state of war against the Hawaiian Kingdom since 1893
On 9 March 1893, President Grover Cleveland, at the request of Queen Lili‘uokalani, conducted an investigation into the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government that occurred on 17 January 1893. Her Majesty notified the President that the overthrow of her government was committed by the United States diplomat assigned to the Hawaiian Kingdom, John Stevens, and by the unauthorized landing of United States armed forces.
President Cleveland appointed James Blount, former Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as Special Commissioner. Commissioner Blount arrived in Honolulu on 31 March 1893 and initiated his investigation the following day. After sending periodical reports to Secretary of State Walter Gresham in Washington, D.C., Blount completed his final report on 17 July 1893. On 18 October 1893, Gresham submitted his report to the President. Gresham concluded:
“The Government of Hawaii surrendered its authority under a threat of war, until such time only as the Government of the United States, upon the facts being presented to it, should reinstate the constitutional sovereign… Should not the great wrong done to a feeble but independent State by an abuse of the authority of the United States be undone by restoring the legitimate government? Anything short of that will not, I respectfully submit, satisfy the demands of justice.”
“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 imperiled 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 facto and the de jure government. In point of fact the existing government instead of requesting the presence of an armed force protested against it.”
The President concluded:
“By an act of war, committed with the participation of a diplomatic representative of the United States and without authority of Congress, the Government of a feeble but friendly and confiding people has thus been overthrown. A substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair.”
When President Cleveland concluded that by an act of war committed against the Hawaiian Kingdom on 16 January 1893, which led to the unlawful overthrow of the Hawaiian government the following day, he acknowledged the situation under international law transformed from a state of peace to a state of war. Only by way of a treaty of peace could a state of war be transformed back to a state of peace. To explain this transformation, Chairman Sai, as Hawaiian Ambassador-at-large, authored a memorandum titled The Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom Case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration and Why There Is An Ongoing Illegal State of War with the United States of America Since 16 January 1893 (16 October 2017). This memorandum has been translated into Farsi, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.
On the very same day the President notified the Congress of the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian government, an agreement of restoration and peace was negotiated between the new U.S. diplomat assigned to the Hawaiian Kingdom, Albert Willis, and the Queen. Negotiations began on 13 November and lasted until 18 December 1893. However, due to political wrangling going on in the Congress, the President was unable to fulfill the United States’ obligation under the agreement of peace with the Queen. Five years later in 1898, the United States fraudulently annexed the Hawaiian Islands during the Spanish-American war and fortified it as a military outpost. Hawai‘i currently serves as headquarters for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
In 2013, the New York Timesreported North Korea’s announcement that “all of its strategic rocket and long range artillery units ‘are assigned to strike bases of the U.S. imperialist aggressor troops in the U.S. mainland and on Hawaii.” The Hawaiian Kingdom’s existential threat has been heightened today by the rhetoric of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
Instead of establishing a system to administer Hawaiian Kingdom law in 1893, the United States maintained their installed insurgency, calling itself the Provisional government, who, under the protection of U.S. troops, unlawfully seized control of the Hawaiian government apparatus. In 1894, these insurgents renamed themselves as the Republic of Hawai‘i. Six years later, the U.S. Congress changed that name to the Territory of Hawai‘i. And in 1959, Congress changed that name to the State of Hawai‘i. The U.S. Congress could no more establish a government in the Hawaiian Kingdom by enacting domestic statutes, than it could establish a government in Germany or in the United Kingdom.
Since the United States’ admitted unlawful overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government in 1893, there has been no lawful government in the Hawaiian Islands until the Hawaiian Council of Regency was established in 1995. The unlawful overthrow of the Hawaiian government 125 years ago, however, did not affect the continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State under international law. The Hawaiian Kingdom continued to remain in existence just as Iraq continued to exist despite its government being overthrown in 2003 by United States armed forces.
 David Bederman & Kurt Hilbert, “Arbitration—UNCITRAL Rules—justiciability and indispensible third parties—legal status of Hawaii,” 95 American Journal of International Law (2001) 927, at 928.