Come join the HCUCC Justice and Witness Missional Team for this exciting and informative exploration of Hawaiian History. Whether you are kamaʻāina or a relative newcomer to Hawaiʻi, you will hear history that you have not heard before.
Three eminent scholars, Dr. Keanu Sai, Dr. Ron Williams Jr., and Donovan Preza, will help us delve into historic documents and events that can inform us as we seek understanding and discernment regarding fulfilling our promise made in the UCC’s apology 30 years ago to the Hawaiian people to stand with them in seeking justice.
See and hear newly translated church documents from over a century. Learn about the Hawaiian Kingdomʻs founding and continuing legal status under International law. Learn about the Mahele and privatization of Hawaiian land under Hawaiian Kingdom law and why land issues will continue unless the UCC promise is fulfilled. Learn about churches who actively resisted the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and the white oligarchy who facilitated the illegal overthrow. If as brothers and sisters in Christ we desire reconciliation, we must first acknowledge the nature of the wrongs and their continuing effects on these islands, the Hawaiian people, and our Church.
This 12-week series will be presented through Zoom beginning on Sunday, August 7, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. HST and continues each Sunday, at the same time, through October 23, 2022. Each Zoom session will be one hour long consisting of a presentation followed by questions and discussion.
To attend any or all of the sessions, please register HERE.
PART I: The Kingdom
Presenter: Dr. Keanu Sai
ABOUT THE PRESENTER: I have a Ph.D. in Political Science specializing in Hawaiian Constitutionalism and International Relations, and a founding member of the Hawaiian Society of Law & Politics. I served as lead Agent for the Hawaiian Kingdom in arbitration proceedings before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, Netherlands, from November 1999-February 2001. I also served as Agent in a Complaint against the United States of America concerning the prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom, which was filed with the United Nations Security Council on July 5, 2001. Articles on the status of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent state, the arbitration case and the complaint filed with the United Nations Security Council have been published in the following journals: American Journal of International Law, vol. 95 (2001); Chinese Journal of International Law, vol. 2, issue 1, (2002), and the Hawaiian Journal of Law & Politics, vol. 1 (2004).
- AUGUST 7 Hōʻike ʻEkahi (Presentation 1) The importance of terminology. Is Hawaiian a nationality, which is multi-ethnic, or a native indigenous people that have been colonized by the United States?
- AUGUST 14 Hōʻike ʻElua (Presentation 2) The constitutional history of the Hawaiian Kingdom from King Kamehameha III to Queen Lili‘uokalani (1839-1893)
- AUGUST 21 Hōʻike ʻEkolu (Presentation 3) The illegal overthrow of the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State under international law
- AUGUST 28 Hōʻike ʻEhā (Presentation 4) The road to recovery of ending the American occupation. How to bring compliance to the rule of law in light of war crimes and human rights violations committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom since January 16, 1893
PART II: The Church
Presenter: Dr. Ronald Williams Jr.
ABOUT THE PRESENTER: Dr. Ronald Williams Jr. holds a doctorate in history from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with a specialization in Hawaiʻi and Native-language resources. He is a former faculty member of the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, UH Mānoa and in 2017 was the founding director of the school’s Lāhui Hawaiʻi Research Center. Dr. Williams is also a past president of the 128-year old Hawaiian Historical Society. He currently works as an archivist at the Hawaiʻi State Archives and serves as Hoʻopaʻa Kūʻauhau (Historian) for the grassroots political organization Ka ʻAhahui Hawaiʻi Aloha ʻĀina. Dr. Williams was a contributing author to the 2019 Samuel Manaiākalani Kamakau Book of the Year award-winning publication, Hoʻoulu Hawaiʻi: The Kalākaua Era. He has published in a wide variety of academic and public history venues including the Oxford Encyclopedia of Religion in America, the Hawaiian Journal of History, and Hana Hou! Magazine.
- SEPTEMBER 04 Hōʻike ʻEkahi (Presentation 1) The Early Mission, 1820 -1863
- SEPTEMBER 11 Hōʻike ʻElua (Presentation 2) Hōʻeuʻeu Hou: Sons of the Mission and the Shaping of a New “Mission,” 1863-1888
- SEPTEMBER 18 Hōʻike ʻEkolu (Presentation 3) Poʻe Karitiano ʻOiaʻiʻo (True Christians)
- SEPTEMBER 25 Hōʻike ʻEhā (Presentation 4) “I ka Wā Mamua, ka Wā Mahope” (The Future is in the Past)
PART III: The Land
Presenter: Donovan Preza MORE INFO TO COME
- OCTOBER 2 Hōʻike ʻEkahi (Presentation 1)
- OCTOBER 9 Hōʻike ʻElua (Presentation 2)
- OCTOBER 16 Hōʻike ʻEkolu (Presentation 3)
- OCTOBER 23 Hōʻike ʻEhā (Presentation 4)
The ongoing illegal state of war between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States since 1893, and the prolonged belligerent occupation of an internationally recognized independent State has violated all norms of international law. In light of the federal lawsuit, Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden, it is timely to address another war and subsequent belligerent occupation that the United States was involved, which eventually came to an end with the payment of reparations. This was the war with Japan from 1941-51.
Here follows the reparations for war paid by the Japanese government under the 1951 Treaty of Peace.
Reparations were made by Japan pursuant to Article 14(a), 1951 Japan Treaty of Peace, which states, “It is recognized that Japan should pay reparations to the Allied Powers for the damage suffering caused by it during the war.” Below are Japanese reparations to countries for 10 years of war (1941-51).
|Country||Amount in US$||Date of Treaty|
|Burma||$200 million||Nov. 5, 1955|
|Philippines||$550 million||May 9, 1956|
|Indonesia||$223 million||Jan. 20, 1958|
|Vietnam||$39 million||May 13, 1959|
|Average||$250 million||Mean year—1957|
|Inflation calculator||$2.6 billion||Year—2022|
As a basis to calculate the amount of reparations that could be owed to the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States up to the year of 2022, which is 129 years of war, the Japanese reparations paid could serve as a guide by applying the years of war to the years of war with the Hawaiian Kingdom. Reparations to be paid by the United States could be calculated at $32 billion, which is $250 million annually multiplied by 129 years of war with the Hawaiian Kingdom. The inflation calculator sets $32 billion in 1957 to $337 billion in 2022.
According to the 1876 Act to Regulate the Currency, “the gold coins of the United States of America shall be the standard and a legal tender in this Kingdom in all payments of debts, at their nominal value.” Although the United States completely stopped using the gold standard in 1973, it was replaced by fiat money that the U.S. government orders its currency must be used for payments.
This measurement could also be applied to other countries who are parties to the conflict and who have been complicit in the belligerent actions taken by the United States against the Hawaiian Kingdom such as the 20 States that unlawfully recognized the United States surrogate calling itself the so-called Republic of Hawai‘i in 1894. These States, and the dates they recognized the American puppet, include:
- Austria-Hungary (January 1, 1895);
- Belgium (October 17, 1894);
- Brazil (September 29, 1894);
- Chile (September 26, 1894);
- China (October 22, 1894);
- France (August 31, 1894);
- Germany (October 4, 1894);
- Guatemala (September 30, 1894);
- Italy (September 23, 1894);
- Japan (April 6, 1897);
- Mexico (August 8, 1894);
- Netherlands (November 2, 1894);
- Norway-Sweden (December 17, 1894);
- Peru (September 10, 1894);
- Portugal (December 17, 1894);
- Russia (August 26, 1894);
- Spain (November 26, 1894);
- Switzerland (September 18, 1894); and
- United Kingdom (September 19, 1894).
According to renowned American jurist, Professor Ellery Stowell, Intervention in International Law (1921) at 349, n. 75, a “foreign state which intervenes in support of [insurgents] commits an act of war against the state to which it belongs, and steps outside the law of nations in time of peace.”
Seizing of Assets:
Seizure of Japanese assets in the territories of Allied Powers was also done pursuant to Article 14(a)(2)(I), 1951 Japan Treaty of Peace, which states, “Subject to the provisions of sub-paragraph (II) below, each of the Allied Powers shall have the right to seize, retain, liquidate or otherwise dispose of all property, rights and interests of (a) Japan and Japanese nationals, (b) persons acting for or on behalf of Japan or Japanese nationals, and (c) entities owned or controlled by Japan or Japanese nationals, which on the first coming into force of the present Treaty were subject to its jurisdiction.”
In the United States, Japanese assets seized amounted to $85 million (inflation conversion for 2022—$896 million). Pursuant to Presidential Executive Order no. 9567—Alien Property Custodian (1945), the United States took title by “vesting” of all property of Japan and Germany and their nationals. Under the 1948 War Claims Act proceeds derived from these assets would not be returned, but rather placed in a War Claims Fund from which payments would be made to United States citizens that suffered as a consequence of the war with Japan and Germany.
Assets held by the United States and other States who are parties to the conflict since January 16, 1893, to include their nationals, within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom are yet to be determined. The liquidation of these assets could be utilized in similar fashion as the United States did regarding Japanese and German properties vested under Alien Property Custodian, to compensate Hawaiian subjects who were the victims of war crimes under international humanitarian law.
One year after the United States Congress passed the joint resolution apologizing for the United States overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom government in 1993, an appeal was heard by the State of Hawai‘i Intermediate Court of Appeals that centered on a claim that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist. In State of Hawai‘i v. Lorenzo, the appellate court stated:
Lorenzo appeals, arguing that the lower court erred in denying his pretrial motion (Motion) to dismiss the indictment. The essence of the Motion is that the [Hawaiian Kingdom] (Kingdom) was recognized as an independent sovereign nation by the United States in numerous bilateral treaties; the Kingdom was illegally overthrown in 1893 with the assistance of the United States; the Kingdom still exists as a sovereign nation; he is a citizen of the Kingdom; therefore, the courts of the State of Hawai‘i have no jurisdiction over him. Lorenzo makes the same argument on appeal. For the reasons set forth below, we conclude that the lower court correctly denied the Motion.
While the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s judgment, it admitted “the court’s rationale is open to question in light of international law.” By not applying international law, the court concluded that the trial court’s decision was correct because Lorenzo “presented no factual (or legal) basis for concluding that the Kingdom [continues to exist] as a state in accordance with recognized attributes of a state’s sovereign nature.”
In other words, the appellate court was applying the rules of evidence that applied in State of Hawai‘i courts. According to the rules of evidence, there is a presumption that the court is lawful and has jurisdiction of the case, unless the defendant provides rebuttable evidence that it doesn’t have jurisdiction. An example would be where a prosecutor files a criminal complaint against a person for committing manslaughter in traffic court. The defendant’s attorney would then file a motion to dismiss stating that the traffic court does not have jurisdiction over an allegation of manslaughter, and that the proper court would be the circuit court that has jurisdiction.
Lorenzo’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss based on the argument that his client had immunity from prosecution. So the appellate court stated that Lorenzo provided no evidence that the Hawaiian Kingdom exists as a State that would have provided for his immunity because he should have been on trial in a Hawaiian Kingdom court and not a State of Hawai‘i court. Since 1994, the Lorenzo case became a precedent case that served as the basis for denying defendants’ motions to dismiss where they claimed immunity. In State of Hawai‘i v. Fergerstrom, the appellate court stated, “We affirm that relevant precedent [in State of Hawai‘i v. Lorenzo],” and that defendants have an evidentiary burden that shows the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist. The federal court, in 2002, referred to the Lorenzo case as the Lorenzo principle.
The Supreme Court, in State of Hawai‘i v. Armitage, clarified the evidentiary burden that Lorenzo principle placed upon defendants. The court stated:
Lorenzo held that, for jurisdictional purposes, should a defendant demonstrate a factual or legal basis that the Kingdom of Hawai‘i “exists as a state in accordance with recognized attributes of a state’s foreign nature[,]” and that he or she is a citizen of that sovereign state, a defendant may be able to argue that the courts of the State of Hawai‘i lack jurisdiction over him or her.
What is profound is that if the appellate court applied international law in its decision, it would have confirmed the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State and ruled in favor of Lorenzo. International law recognizes the difference between the State and its government, and that there is a presumption that the State continues to exist despite its government being militarily overthrown. As Judge James Crawford explained, “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.” 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, all Lorenzo needed to provide was evidence that the Hawaiian Kingdom “did” exist as a State, which would then shift the burden on the prosecution to provide rebuttable evidence that the United States extinguished the Hawaiian State in accordance with recognized modes of extinction under international law, a treaty of cession.
The appellate court did acknowledge that Lorenzo, in fact, provided evidence in his motion to dismiss “that the [Hawaiian Kingdom] was recognized as an independent sovereign nation by the United States in numerous bilateral treaties” In other words, the “bilateral treaties” were the evidence of Hawaiian statehood. Therefore, the appellate court mistakenly placed the burden on the defendant to provide evidence of the Kingdom’s continued existence, when it should have determined from the trial records if the prosecution provided rebuttable evidence against the presumption of the Kingdom’s continued existence as a State, which was evidenced by the “bilateral treaties.” The prosecution provided no such evidence.
If, for the sake of argument, the prosecution argued before the trial court that the 1898 joint resolution of annexation extinguished Hawaiian statehood, it would be prevented from doing so under the rules of evidence because the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded in 1988, in a legal opinion, that it is “unclear which constitutional power Congress exercised when it acquired Hawaii by joint resolution.”
The opinion by the Department of Justice is an admission against interest, which is an out-of-court statement made by the federal government prior to the date of Lorenzo’s trial that would have bound the prosecutor from claiming otherwise. Furthermore, a congressional joint resolution or a statute are not sources of international law, and as such could not have affected Hawaiian statehood. According to the American Law Institute, a “rule of international law is one that has been accepted as such by the international community of states (a) in the form of customary law; (b) by international agreement; or (c) by derivation from general principles common to the major legal systems of the world.” Only by a treaty of cession, which is an “international agreement,” could the United States have extinguished the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State. Congressional laws are not treaties of cession.
The significance of the Lorenzo case is that the appellate court, when international law is applied, answered its own question in the negative as to “whether the present governance system should be recognized,” and that a “state has an obligation not to recognize or treat as a state an entity that has attained the qualifications for statehood as a result of a threat or use of armed force.” In other words, the State of Hawai‘i cannot be recognized as a State of the United States, which arose “as a result of a…use of armed force.” In 1893, President Grover Cleveland concluded that the provisional government, which is a predecessor of the State of Hawai‘i, “owes its existence to an armed invasion by the United States.” Therefore, a proper interpretation of State of Hawai‘i v. Lorenzo renders all courts of the State of Hawai‘i to be unlawful, and that every judgment, order or decree that emanated from any court of the State of Hawai‘i is void pursuant to the Lorenzo principle.
As such, these decisions are subject to collateral attack, which is where a defendant has a right to impeach a decision previously made against him because the “court that rendered judgment lacked jurisdiction of the subject matter.” While these decisions are subject to collateral attack, there is the problem as to what court is competent to receive a motion to set aside judgment because all courts of the State of Hawai‘i are not lawful pursuant to the Lorenzo principle.
“If a person or body assumes to act as a court without any semblance of legal authority so to act and gives a purported judgment,” explains the American Law Institute, “the judgment is, of course, wholly void.” And according to Moore, “Courts that act beyond…constraints act without power; judgments of courts lacking subject matter jurisdiction are void—not deserving of respect by other judicial bodies or by the litigants.” Furthermore, courts who were made aware of the American occupation prior to their decisions would have met the constituent elements of the war crime of depriving a protected person of a fair and regular trial.
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.
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.
If you are currently residing in the Hawaiian Islands, letters could be sent, by certified mail, to Charles P. Rettig, Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, and Isaac W. Choy, Director of the State of Hawai‘i Department of Taxation, regarding the unlawful collection of so-called taxes within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Both individuals are named as defendants in their official capacities in the federal lawsuit Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden.
Here is the link (MSWord file) of the letter to Commissioner Rettig, and here is the link (MSWord file) of the letter to Director Choy. Information in the letter is from the filings in Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden.
Download both pdf files of the letters and use the information to draft your letters. You will need to insert the necessary information to personalize the letters and to provide your mailing address, phone number and email address. It is recommended that both letters be sent certified mail through the United States Postal Service.
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.
Along with the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the American Association of Jurists/Asociación Americana de Juristas – accredited non-government organizations to the UN Human Rights Council, AHEC fully supports the National Lawyers Guild’s 2019 resolution that calls upon the U.S. to immediately comply with international humanitarian law and condemns the prolonged and illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Islands. AHEC specifically:
• Condemns the unlawful presence of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command with its 118 military sites throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
• Calls for the U.S. to comply with international humanitarian law and administer the laws in the Hawaiian Kingdom as an occupied state.
• Calls on the legal and human rights community to view the U.S. presence in the Hawaiian Islands through the prism of international law and to roundly condemn it as an illegal occupation under international law.
• Supports the Hawaiian Council of Regency, which represented the Hawaiian Kingdom in its efforts to seek resolution in accordance with international law as well as its strategy to have the State of Hawaiʻi and its counties comply with international humanitarian law for the administration of the occupying state. On May 20, 2021, the Hawaiian Kingdom filed a case in the U.S. federal court: Hawaiian Kingdom v. Biden, et al.
• Calls on all United Nations member and non-member states to ensure that the U.S. complies with international humanitarian law and brings to an end the unlawful occupation of the Hawaiian Islands.
On March 21, 2022, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, will be convening for its General Debate. On this day, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) with accreditation to the United Nations Economic and Social Council will be delivering oral statements by video recording on situations that require the attention of the HRC. The public can view the General Debate online at the United Nations Web TV. Recordings will be uploaded the day after.
The International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the American Association of Jurists—Asociación Americana de Juristas (AAJ), both of whom are accredited NGOs, will be jointly sponsoring an oral statement to be delivered by Dr. Keanu Sai on the subject of the prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the violation of human rights of Hawaiian subjects as a result of the unlawful imposition of American laws, being the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty, over the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom for over a century. The IADL-AAJ have been assigned the 10th slot to deliver the oral statement on Monday.
The IADL and the AAJ uploaded the following information on the Hawaiian Kingdom’s prolonged occupation to accompany its oral statement: the PCA Case Repository of Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom (1999-2001), the National Lawyers Guild’s (NLG) Resolution on the prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom (2019), the Position Statement by the NLG (2020), the ebook Royal Commission of Inquiry (2020), the NLG’s letter to State of Hawai‘i Governor David Ige (2020), the IADL resolution (2021), and a copy of the IADL-AAJ joint letter to the ambassadors accredited to the United Nations in New York City and Geneva (2022).
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.
Samuel Parker, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Wm. H. Cornwell, Minister of Finance.
John. F. Colburn, Minister of the Interior.
A.P. Peterson, Attorney General.
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.
This past July 18, 2021, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ passed a resolution “Encouraging to End 128 years of War between the United States of America and the Hawaiian Kingdom.” The resolution was introduced by the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches (AHEC). Pastor Wendell Davis is the head of AHEC as the Papa Makua.
AHEC is an association of 30 native Hawaiian protestant churches and 6 partnerships that include, as partnership ministries, the State Sunday School Association, Pacific Justice and Reconciliation, Kamehameha Schools, State Council of Hawaiian Congregational Churches, Christian Endeavor Hawai‘i, and the Pacific Islander & Asian American Ministries.
AHEC is a successor of the ‘Ahahui ‘Euanelio o Hawai‘i, also known as the Hawaiian Evangelical Association, that was established in 1854 in the Hawaiian Kingdom. Well known churches such as Kawaiaha‘o and Kaumakapili are members of AHEC. The resolution
“calls upon all settings of the church, denomination officers, conferences, associations, and congregations to live into the 1993 Apology of the United Church of Christ delivered to the Native Hawaiian people by President Paul Sherry.”
“call[s] upon the United Church of Christ’s General Counsel’s office to listen to and consider recommendations from the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches, other Native Hawaiian organizations and Native Hawaiian voices drafting communications to local, national and international leaders and organizations calling for compliance with international humanitarian law and an end to the illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Islands.”
“reaffirm its commitment to stand alongside and in support of the efforts of Native Hawaiians to seek redress and restitution for the war crimes of the US against the Hawaiian Kingdom including, but not limited to, the crime of denationalization.”
In its first communication to local leaders, AHEC sent a certified letter to State of Hawai‘i Governor David Ige on February 23, 2022, stating:
[W]e support the National Lawyers Guild’s letter to you dated November 10, 2020, urging you, as Governor,
[T]o proclaim the transformation of the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties into an occupying government pursuant to the Council of Regency’s proclamation of June 3, 2019, in order to administer the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom. This would include carrying into effect the Council of Regency’s proclamation of October 10, 2014 that bring the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the nineteenth century up to date. We further urge you and other officials of the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties to familiarize yourselves with the contents of the recent eBook published by the [Royal Commission of Inquiry] and its reports that comprehensively explains the current situation of the Hawaiian Islands and the impact that international humanitarian law and human rights law have on the State of Hawai‘i and its inhabitants.
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.”