Accessing Two Books on the Political and Legal History of the Hawaiian Islands

In 2011, Dr. Keanu Sai wrote a book titled Ua Mau Ke Ea – Sovereignty Endures: An Overview of the Political and Legal History of the Hawaiian Islands. Pū‘ā Foundation is the publisher of this book that can be purchased online at their website. This book draws from Dr. Sai’s doctoral dissertation in political science titled The American Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom: Beginning the Transition from Occupied to Restored State. Ua Mau is currently being used to teach Hawaiian history in the Middle Schools, High Schools, and entry level collage classes.

In 2020, Dr. Sai is an editor and author of a free eBook titled Royal Commission of Inquiry: Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom. Contributing authors include Professor Matthew Craven from the University of London, SOAS, Law Department, on the subject of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s continued existence as a State under international law; Professor William Schabas from Middlesex University London, Law Department, on the subject of war crimes being committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom; and Professor Federico Lenzerini from the University of Siena, Italy, Department of Political and International Science, on the subject of human rights violations committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom and the right of self-determination of a population under military occupation. In 2022, a book review of the Royal Commission of Inquiry’s eBook was done by Dr. Anita Budziszewska from the University of Warsaw, which was published in the Polish Journal of Political Science. This book is currently being used in undergraduate and graduate courses at universities.

To access Dr. Sai’s other publications you can visit his University of Hawai‘i website. Dr. Sai firmly believes in the power of education. He often states, “The practical value of history, is that it is a film of the past, run through the projector of today, on to the screen of tomorrow.” It is through education and awareness that the national consciousness of the Hawaiian Kingdom will be restored to its rightful place.

UPDATE: Dr. Keanu Sai’s Presentation to the Maui County Council’s DRIP Committee on March 6, 2024

UPDATE: The video has been updated to include questions of Dr. Keanu Sai from the Committee members after the presentation.

Dr. Keanu Sai’s presentation to the Maui County Council’s Disaster, Resilience, International Affairs, and Planning (DRIP) Committee on the update on the status of Hawai‘i under international law and accountability for war crimes on March 6, 2024. The video is produced by Kanaeokana.

Meritocracy of the Regency and Command and Control by a Military Government

When the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom was restored in 1997 by a Council of Regency, it came into existence where the population of the Hawaiian Islands effectively had their national consciousness of the Hawaiian Kingdom from the nineteenth century obliterated and replaced with an American national consciousness. The process by which this obliteration occurred was by a deliberate and consistent policy of denationalization through Americanization that was formally instituted in the public and private school system in 1906 by the Department of Public Instruction, which is currently called the Department of Education.

According to the Programme, “The teacher will call one of the pupils to come forward and stand at one side of the desk while the teacher stands at the other. The pupil shall hold an American flag in military style. At second signal all children shall rise, stand erect and salute the flag, concluding with the salutation, ‘We give our heads and our hearts to God and our Country! One Country! One Language! One flag!’”

In 1907, Harper’s Weekly magazine covered the Americanization taking place at Ka‘ahumanu and Ka‘iulani Public Schools, which has students from the first to eighth grade. When the reporter visited Ka‘iulani Public School, he documented the policy being carried out and took a picture of the 614 school children saluting the American flag. He wrote:

At the suggestion of Mr. Babbitt, the principal, Mrs. Fraser, gave an order, and within ten seconds all of the 614 pupils of the school began to march out upon the great green lawn which surrounds the building. Hawaii differs from all our other tropical neighbors in the fact that grass will grow here. To see beautiful, velvety turf amid groves of palms and banana trees and banks of gorgeous scarlet flowers gives a feeling of sumptuousness one cannot find elsewhere.

Out upon the lawn marched the children, two by two, just as precise and orderly as you can find them at home. With the ease that comes of long practice the classes marched and countermarched until all were drawn up in a compact array facing a large American flag that was dancing in the northeast trade-wind forty feet above their heads. Surely this was the most curious, most diverse regiment ever drawn up under that banner—tiny Hawaiians, Americans, Britons, Germans, Portuguese, Scandinavians, Japanese, Chinese, Porto-Ricans, and Heaven knows what else.

‘Attention!’ Mrs. Fraser commanded.

The little regiment stood fast, arms at sides, shoulders back, chests out, heads up, and every eye fixed upon the red, white, and blue emblem that waved protectingly over them.

‘Salute!’ was the principal’s next command.

Children_Salute_1907

Every right hand was raised, forefinger extended, and the six hundred and fourteen fresh, childish voices chanted as one voice:

‘We give our heads and our hearts to God and our Country! One Country! One Language! One Flag!’

The last six words were shot out with a force that was explosive. The tone, the gesture, the gaze fixed reverently upon the flag, told their story of loyal fervor. And it was apparent that the salute was given as spontaneously and enthusiastically by the Japanese as by any of the other children. There were hundreds of them in the throng, and their voices rang out as clearly as any others, their hands raised in unison. The coldest clod of a man who sees the children perform this act of reverence must feel a tightening at the throat, and it is even more affecting to see these young atoms from all the world actually being fused in the crucible from which they shall issue presently as good American citizens.”

Under customary international law, Americanization is a war crime of denationalizing the inhabitants of an occupied territory. Germans and Italians were prosecuted for the same war crime after World War II for implementing a systematic plan of Germanization and Italianization in occupied territories.

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Germanization

The insurgency relied on loyalty, not merit, to fill the ranks of their provisional government in 1893 and their so-called Republic of Hawai‘i in 1894. When the United States seized control of the Hawaiian Islands by renaming the Republic of Hawai‘i to the Territory of Hawai‘i in 1900 loyalty in the ranks were continued by the insurgency pretending to be American citizens.

The lead insurgent, Sanford Dole, as President of the Republic of Hawai‘i, was appointed by President McKinley to be the Governor of the Territory of Hawai‘i. Loyalty to the insurgency was party affiliation to the Republican Party. In 1959, when the United States changed the name of the Territory of Hawai‘i to the State of Hawai‘i, loyalty was now under a new party—the Democratic Party, which continues today. While international law renders the current apparatus of the State of Hawai‘i not as a legitimate government but rather an occupant that is committing war crimes against the population of the Hawaiian Islands, it has not altered the firm grip of loyalty in the minds of alleged war criminals. What will eventually break this chain is criminal culpability and prosecutions like what occurred with with the Nazi Party in Germany.

When the Hawaiian government was restored in 1997 by a Regency, its officers had to conform to Hawaiian constitutional law and administrative processes. King Kamehameha III established, as an administrative process, meritocracy, which is where government jobs were based on merit and not solely on loyalty. Responding to a slew of appeals to remove these foreign advisors who replaced native Chiefs, Kamehameha III penned the following letter that was communicated throughout the realm—a letter that speaks to the time and circumstance the kingdom faced and establishing a meritocracy:

Kindly greetings to you with kindly greetings to the old men and women of my ancestors’ time. I desire all the good things of the past to remain such as the good old law of Kamehameha that “the old women and the old men shall sleep in safety by the wayside,” and to unite with them what is good under these new conditions in which we live. That is why I have appointed foreign officials, not out of con­tempt for the ancient wisdom of the land, but because my native helpers do not understand the laws of the great countries who are working with us. That is why I have dismissed them. I see that I must have new officials to help with the new system under which I am working for the good of the country and of the old men and women of the country. I earnestly desire to give places to the commoners and to the chiefs as they are able to do the work connected with the office. The people who have learned the new ways I have retained. Here is the name of one of them, G.L. Kapeau, Secretary of the Treasury. He understands the work very well, and I wish there were more such men. Among the chiefs Leleiohoku, Paki, and John Young [Keoni Ana] are capable of filling such places and they already have government offices, one of them over foreign officials. And as soon as the young chiefs are sufficiently trained I hope to give them the places. But they are not now able to become speakers in foreign tongues. I have therefore refused the letters of appeal to dismiss the foreign advisors, for those who speak only the Hawaiian tongue.

The Council of Regency and its officers had to become proficient in Hawaiian constitutional law, administrative law, land tenure, public international law, international humanitarian law, and the law of occupation. This is why Dr. Keanu Sai, as Chairman of the Council of Regency, secured a M.A. degree and a Ph.D. degree in political science specializing in international relations and law. Dr. Sai’s merit is also reflected in multiple peer review articles and published books on the topic of the Hawaiian Kingdom and its continued existence.

Loyalty was satisfied by Hawaiian administrative law where the members of the Cabinet Council were required to take the following oath, “I solemnly swear in the presence of Almighty God, that I will faithfully support the Constitution and laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of [Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Finance, and the Attorney General].”

Under the law of occupation there is a working relationship between the occupant and the Regency as the government of the occupied State. International law constrains and regulates the actions of both entities with its collective duty of protecting the population of the occupied State. The law of occupation places another duty, which is paramount, on the head of the State of Hawai‘i Department of Defense, Major General Kenneth Hara, to proclaim the transformation of the State of Hawai‘i into a Military Government and begin to comply with the law of occupation.

According to the U.S. Manual for Courts-Martial, a “duty may be imposed by treaty, statute, regulation, lawful order, standard operating procedure, or custom of the Service.” In this case, MG Hara’s duty is imposed upon him by Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Regulations, and U.S. Department of Defense Directive 5001.1 that states it is the duty of the Army in “[occupied] territories abroad [to] provide for the establishment of a military government pending transfer of this responsibility to other authority.” It is not the duty of the Navy, Marines, or the Air Force. U.S. Army field manuals (“FM”) regulating military government are FM 27-5—Civil Affairs Military Government, FM 27-10—The Law of Land Warfare, FM 3-57—Civil Affairs Operations, and FM 6-37—The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Land Warfare.

MG Hara’s failure to perform this duty that is established by treaty as an Army general officer is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and a war crime of omission under international law. A soldier who is found guilty of willful dereliction of duty resulting in death or grievous bodily harm is subject to “dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 2 years.”

The war crimes tribunals in Nuremburg and Tokyo that followed the end of hostilities during the Second World War, “marked a clear recognition by the international community that all members of the chain of command who participate or acquiesce in war crimes must bear individual criminal responsibility.” Command responsibility arises when the military superior during an occupation of a foreign State fails to exercise sufficient control and accountability for his/her subordinates’ in the commission of war crimes. And a “non-military commander is [also] responsible for omissions which lead to the commission of crimes.” The doctrine of command responsibility arises when the superior, by omission, fails to control or punish those under his/her command.

Paragraph 4-24 of the 2020 Army Regulations 600-200 states, “Commanders are legally responsible for war crimes they personally commit, order committed, or know or should have known about and take no action to prevent, stop, or punish.” The failure of MG Hara to transform the State of Hawai‘i into a Military Government has allowed for war crimes to be committed with impunity throughout the Hawaiian Islands by the unlawful imposition of American laws over Hawaiian territory, which is the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation. This imposition of American laws has led to secondary war crimes such as unfair trials, unlawful confinement, confiscation or destruction of property, denationalization, pillage, etc.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, command and control is the “exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned forces in the accomplishment of the mission.” Establishing a Military Government is a mission of the Army in occupied territory, and when it is established, it is not based upon democratic principles. U.S. Army Field Manual 27-5 states, “Military government is exercised when an armed force has occupied such territory, whether by force or agreement, and has substituted its authority for that of the sovereign or previous government. The right of control passes to the occupying force limited only by the rules of international law and established customs of war.”

FM 27-5 also states under command responsibility, the “theater commander bears full responsibility for military government; therefore, he is usually designated as military governor or civil affairs administrator, but is authorized to delegate his authority and title, in whole or in part, to a subordinate commander. In occupied territory the commander, by virtue of his position, has supreme legislative, executive, and judicial authority, limited only by the laws and customs of war and by directives from higher authority.” And the reasons for the establishment of military government “are either military necessity as a right, or as an obligation under international law.”

The mission of a military government assumes that the population of the occupied territory is hostile to its presence, which is precisely why the military governor has command and control. The military governor does not maintain the loyalties of the former government but rather severs it by replacing it with his authority in order to temporarily administer the laws of the occupied State until a peace treaty has been agreed upon that would bring the occupation to an end.

After General Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed the establishment of a Military Government in Germany on April 19, 1945, began the de-Nazification of Germany. In his proclamation, General Eisenhower stated, “we shall obliterate Nazi-ism and German Militarism. We shall overthrow the Nazi rule, dissolve the Nazi Party and abolish the cruel, oppressive and discriminatory laws and institutions which the Party has created. We shall eradicate that German Militarism which has so often disrupted the peace of the world. Military and Party leaders, the Gestapo and others suspected of crimes and atrocities will be tried and, if guilty, punished as they deserve.”

Like in the case of Germany, the Military Government for Hawai‘i would have to “obliterate” American-ism and American Militarism in order to begin the restoration of Hawaiian Kingdom national consciousness that existed before the American invasion on January 16, 1893. American-ism and American Militarism was established by the American authorities themselves in order to conceal the illegality of the occupation and the militarization of an occupied State. This would not be an easy task but it is, nevertheless a duty imposed by treaty and Army regulations, which falls squarely on MG Hara despite his personal feelings and/or perceived loyalties to the Democratic Party of the current administration. As an Army general officer, MG Hara is held to a higher standard than any person pretending to be an American politician in an occupied State, and his training and military education reveals it.

There would, however, be no duty imposed upon MG Hara if the Hawaiian Kingdom had ceased to exist as a State under international law, but this is not the case because his Staff Judge Advocate, Lieutenant Colonel Lloyd Phelps, could not find any legal evidence that that was the case.

In 2014, LTC Phelps was the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Maui in State of Hawai‘i v. English et al., criminal no. 14-1-0819, brought before Judge Joseph P. Cardoza of the Second Circuit Court. Attorney General for the Hawaiian Kingdom, Dexter Ka‘iama, served as the defendants’ counsel who filed a motion to dismiss both criminal complaints on the grounds that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because of the American military occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Mr. Ka‘iama has been serving as the Attorney General of the Hawaiian Kingdom and member of the Council of Regency since August 11, 2013.

An evidentiary hearing was held at the Second Circuit Court on March 5, 2015, where Dr. Keanu Sai served as expert witness for the defense. The purpose for the evidentiary hearing was to meet the burden of proof established by the Intermediate Court of Appeals in State of Hawai‘i v. Lorenzo whereby defendants that are contesting the jurisdiction of the court must provide a “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 Dr. Sai’s expert testimony, he provided the factual circumstances of the United States military occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws as to the reason why the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction because its authority extends from the 1959 Statehood Act passed by the Congress, which has no extra-territorial effect. In the court’s transcripts, Dr. Sai stated that for the Court to proceed it would violate “Article 147 [1949 Fourth Geneva Convention], unfair trial [as] a grave breach, which is considered a war crime.” When asked by Judge Cordoza, “Any cross-examination?” LTC Phelps responded, “Your Honor, the State has no questions of Dr. Sai. Thank you for his testimony. One Army officer to another, I appreciate your testimony.”

Binding on MG Hara was also the fact that the United States already recognized the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State and the Council of Regency as its government by opinio juris. Additionally, the United States explicitly recognized the Council of Regency, by a mutual agreement, so it could be granted permission to access all records and pleadings of the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

For MG Hara to continue to deny the overwhelming evidence that imposes upon him the duty and obligation to transform the State of Hawai‘i into a Military Government, he is establishing a very strong basis of “willfulness” of not performing his duty, which satisfies the criminal intent for the war crime of omission.

Component Commands of the Indo-Pacific Command Notified to Withdraw from the Hawaiian Islands prior to October 26, 2024

On October 20, 2023, the Council of Regency, as the government of the occupied State, initiated the process to terminate the 1884 Supplemental Convention (“Pearl Harbor Convention”). Secretary of State Antony Blinken received the notice of termination from the Council of Regency on October 26, 2023, at 05:47 hours, which consequently triggered the tolling of twelve months. According to the terms of the Pearl Harbor Convention, the treaty will be terminated on October 26, 2024, 05:47 hours.

The Pearl Harbor Convention extended the duration of the 1875 Commercial Reciprocity Treaty an additional seven years until 1894, unless either the United States or the Hawaiian Kingdom gives notice to the other of its intention to terminate the treaty and convention. According to Article I:

The High Contracting Parties agree, that the time fixed for the duration of the said Convention, shall be definitely extended for a term of seven years from the date of the exchange of ratifications hereof, and further, until the expiration of twelve months after either of the High Contracting Parties shall give notice to the other of its wish to terminate the same, each of the High Contracting Parties being at liberty to give such notice to the other at the end of the said term of seven years or at any time thereafter.

As a condition for the extension of the commercial treaty, the United States sought exclusive access to Pearl Harbor. Article II of the Pearl Harbor Convention provides:

His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands grants to the Government of the United States the exclusive right to enter the harbor of Pearl River, in the Island of Oahu, and to establish and maintain there a coaling and repair station for the use of vessels of the United States, and to that end the United States may improve the entrance to said harbor and do all other things needful to the purpose aforesaid.

According to Article 1, the Pearl Harbor Convention came into effect in 1887 after ratifications were exchanged in Washington, D.C., and would last for seven years and further until “either of the High Contracting Parties shall give notice to the other of its wish to terminate the same,” where termination would commence twelve months after the notification is received by the other High Contracting Party. Although the Hawaiian government was unlawfully overthrown by the United States on 17 January 1893, the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State under international law continued to exist.

After the Hawaiian government was overthrown by the United States in 1893, the United States did nothing with Pearl Harbor until 1908 when the United States Congress allocated monies to build a naval station instead of a “coaling and repair station.” This violated the terms of the Pearl Harbor Convention as well as violating the Hawaiian Kingdom’s neutrality under international law.

The Pearl Harbor Convention has a direct nexus to the presence of the U.S. military component commands of the Indo-Pacific Command that has military installations and firing ranges outside of the perimeter of Pearl Harbor. Component commands of the Indo-Pacific Command include: United States Army Pacific, United States Marine Corps Forces Hawai‘i, and United States Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

A note of the Hawaiian Kingdom attached to the Pearl Harbor Convention stated, “that Hawaiian Sovereignty and jurisdiction were not impaired that the Hawaiian Government was not bound to furnish land for any purpose and that the privilege to be granted should be coterminous with the Treaty.” Coterminous is defined as “having the same boundaries,” which is limited to Pearl Harbor.

The unlawful presence of the United States military has transformed the Hawaiian Kingdom from a neutral State into a military target by its adversaries, which first occurred on 7 December 1941 when Japan’s military forces attacked U.S. military targets. The high probability of military attacks by other countries, such as North Korea, China, and Russia continue due to the rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific region. In 1990, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Risks and Hazards—A State by State Guide listed 6 targets for nuclear attack that would effectively annihilate the entire Island of O‘ahu. The presence of the United States military places the civilian population of the Hawaiian Kingdom into perilous danger.

The component commanders—General Charles A. Flynn, Commander U.S. Army Pacific, Lieutenant General William M. Jurney, Commander U.S. Marine Corps Forces Hawai‘i, Captain Mark Sohaney, USN, Commander U.S. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, and Colonel Monica Gramling, Deputy Commander U.S. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, were notified by Dr. David Keanu Sai, as Head of the Royal Commission of Inquiry:

In light of the termination of the Pearl Harbor Convention, all Title 10 military forces of the four component commands of the Indo-Pacific Command—Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, shall forthwith cease and desist any and all military exercises, to include utilizing live fire ranges across the islands, and anywhere within 200 nautical miles from the low water mark of the shoreline of the islands that constitute the Hawaiian Kingdom’s territorial sea and its exclusive economic zone, and to complete the withdrawal from the Hawaiian Islands by 26 October 2024.

The Staff Judge Advocates of the Indo-Pacific Command and the 25th Infantry Division were also included with the notifications. In his letters, Dr. Sai restated from the Council of Regency’s proclamation terminating the Pearl Harbor Convention:

And, We do require that when the United States has received this notice of termination, it shall, prior to the expiration of twelve months in accordance with Article I of the 1884 Supplemental Convention, remove all movable property at its military facilities throughout the Hawaiian Islands, including unexploded munitions, and fuel, with the exception of real property attached to the land or erected on it, including manmade objects, such as buildings, homes, structures, roads, sewers, and fences, to include on other properties that have been or are currently under its supervision and command.

Dr. Sai stated that the reasoning for notifying the component commands was because it was unclear whether the State Department notified Indo-Pacific Command of the termination of the Pearl Harbor Convention. Dr. Sai also stated that it did not appear that U.S. troops were beginning to be withdrawn. In his letters to the commanders of the component commands, Dr. Sai addressed the war crimes of confiscation or destruction of property:

Military installations and target ranges beyond Pearl Harbor were unlawfully confiscated by the United States from the Hawaiian Kingdom public lands and the estates of private persons in violation of international humanitarian law and the law of occupation. Live fire at these target ranges constitute destruction of property. According to Professor William Schabas, renowned expert on international criminal law, war crimes and human rights, in his legal opinion on war crimes being committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom, there are five elements of the war crime of confiscation or destruction of property.

Following the end of hostilities during the Second World War, the war crimes tribunals in Nuremburg and Tokyo, “marked a clear recognition by the international community that all members of the chain of command who participate or acquiesce in war crimes must bear individual criminal responsibility.” Command responsibility arises when the military superior during an occupation of a foreign State fails to exercise sufficient control and accountability for his/her subordinates’ in the commission of war crimes. And a “non-military commander is [also] responsible for omissions which lead to the commission of crimes.” The doctrine of command responsibility arises when a superior, by omission, fails to control or punish those under his/her command.

Dereliction of the performance of a duty arises when a commander took no action to prevent, stop, or punish. Confiscation and destruction of property are war crimes and commanders of the four component commands have a duty to stop the further commission of these and other war crimes. Dereliction of the performance of a duty is also a war crime of omission.

Dr. Sai’s letter concluded with:

Since 17 April 2023, I have been in communication with Major General Kenneth Hara of the State of Hawai‘i Department of Defense, regarding his duty under international law and Army regulations, to transition the State of Hawai‘i into a military government. Of note in my meeting with BG Okamura on November 1, 2023, he stated to me that the withdrawal of U.S. troops because of the termination of the Pearl Harbor Convention will create chaos. I acknowledged that it would indeed be chaotic, and then answered that is precisely why MG Hara must establish a military government to facilitate the withdrawal of U.S. troops and begin to comply with the law of occupation. BG Okamura responded to me with that’s a good plan.

Unlike American politicians, members of the military have a duty and responsibility to comport with international law and regulations. To begin to withdraw Title 10 troops under your command is a duty imposed by the terms of a treaty and that you have command responsibility. Your presence in this country was by virtue of a treaty that would last from 1887 to 1894, and further, unless either country gives notice to the other of its intention to terminate. That notice to terminate was received by the United States on 26 October 2023 at 05:47 hours, which triggered the tolling of 12 months for termination. Therefore, your withdrawal is a duty imposed by the termination of that treaty that is not affected by any presidential or congressional action.

There would be no duty imposed upon you if the Hawaiian Kingdom had ceased to exist as a State under international law, but this is not the case because the United States recognized the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State and the Council of Regency as its government by opinio juris. Additionally, the United States explicitly recognized the Council of Regency by agreement so it could be granted permission to access all records and pleadings of the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

The Piercing Effect of International Criminal Culpability upon Individuals that are Outside of the United States

When United States President Grover Cleveland admitted that the overthrow of the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom was an “act of war,” it triggered international humanitarian law and the law of occupation on January 17, 1893. Instead of restoring Queen Lili‘uokalani as the Executive Monarch under a treaty called an executive agreement, by exchange of notes, between the Queen and President Cleveland, on December 18, 1893, Cleveland’s successor, President William McKinley unilaterally seized the Hawaiian Islands when he signed into American law the joint resolution of annexation on July 7, 1898. The purpose of the unilateral seizure of the Islands was to establish a military outpost to protect the west coast of the United States.

For the past 131 years, the United States has not been held to account for their violations of international law and the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom because violations of international law did not hold governmental officials of the State accountable for the actions of soldiers who committed war crimes. In 1919, there was an attempt to hold to account the German Kaiser for war crimes by an international tribunal established by the Allies of the First World War.

In its report, the Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the First World War concluded, “All persons belonging to enemy countries, however high their position may have been, without distinction of rank, including Chiefs of States, who have been guilty of offenses against the laws and customs of war or the laws of humanity, are liable to criminal prosecution” by the international tribunal. The United States, however, was against this. U.S. members of the Commission stated:

In regard to the latter point, it will be observed that the American representatives did not deny the responsibility of the heads of states for acts which they may have committed in violation of law, including in so far as their country is concerned, the laws and customs of war, but they held that heads of states are, as agents of the people, in whom the sovereignty of any state resides, responsible to the people for the illegal acts which they may have committed, and that they are not and that they should not be made responsible to any other sovereignty.

In other words, the United States position was to have the countries themselves prosecute their Heads of State. This position also implied that if the country’s won’t prosecute their Heads of State, their criminal culpability would go unchecked. The United States position would change, however, after the fall of the Nazi government and the Imperial Japanese government during the Second World War. Here an international tribunal was established to try high-level officials of the Nazi regime for war crimes and high-level officials of the Imperial Japanese government. This unified system laid the groundwork for the creation of international criminal law.

As stated by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, in United States, France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union v. Göring et al. (1948), “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.” Abstract entities are countries called States. In other words, you can’t punish the State, but you can hold to account members of the government of a State, whether civilian or military, for war crimes.

In 2002, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in The Hague, Netherlands for the prosecution of war crimes. 123 States approved the Rome Statute that established the ICC with jurisdiction over their territories. Collectively, you have 124 governmental organizations to prosecute war crimes, which are the 123 prosecutors and criminal courts of the States, and the prosecutor and courts of the ICC. Prosecutions for war crimes by the ICC are “for the most serious crimes of international concern,” while prosecution by the 123 States are for war criminal that enters into the territory. According to Article 1 of the Rome Statute:

An International Criminal Court is hereby established. It shall be a permanent institution and shall have the power to exercise its jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of international concerns, as referred to in this Statute, and shall be complementary to national criminal jurisdiction. The jurisdiction and functioning of the Court shall be governed by the provisions of this Statute.

The significance of Article 1 is that the primary responsibility to prosecute war criminals are the 123 States and not the ICC. The war criminal reports by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) establish the evidentiary basis for prosecution by these States when those subjects of the reports enter their territory. As part of its mandate, it is also the duty of the RCI to ensure that these war criminals get prosecuted by all means necessary. There are no statutes of limitations to prevent the prosecution of war crimes. The Council of Regency is currently in communication with the legal counsel at the United Nations regarding the Hawaiian Kingdom’s accession to the Rome Statute that grants jurisdiction of the ICC over the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

To begin to comply with international humanitarian law and the law of occupation, the decision to be made by February 17, 2024, does not fall upon an “abstract entity” called the United States or the State of Hawai‘i but rather upon Major General Kenneth Hara and the members of the State of Hawai‘i Legislature and the County Councils themselves.

For Major General Hara, his duty under international humanitarian law and the law of occupation is to transform the State of Hawai‘i into a military government on February 17. The action to be taken by members of the State of Hawai‘i Legislature and the County Councils is to cease and desist by February 17 the commission of the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation.

Their failure to comply does not affect the mandate of the RCI or the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Their failure to comply with the law of occupation merely serves as evidence of meeting the elements of the war crime and having criminal culpability.

The Duty to Protect the Population in Hawai‘i from War Crimes Committed by the State of Hawai‘i

The legal basis for the Council of Regency’s establishment under Hawaiian constitutional law and the legal doctrine of necessity was based on the continued existence of the country called the Hawaiian State. What was unlawfully overthrown on January 17, 1893, was the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom and not the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State under international law. In fact, international law protects the State and its continuity from the continuous violations of its sovereignty by another State. What international law cannot protect, however, is the population of the Hawaiian Islands from denationalization through Americanization that began as a formal policy in 1906.

Under international criminal law, denationalization is the process of replacing the national consciousness of the Hawaiian Kingdom, to include its language, in the minds of school children with the national consciousness of the United States and its English language. Within three generations since 1906, the national consciousness of the Hawaiian Kingdom was wiped clean in the minds of the population in the Hawaiian Islands. Denationalization is a policy carried out in the school systems of the occupied States that attempts to change the national consciousness in the minds of school children. The United States and the Allied Powers in the First World War determined denationalization to be a war crime committed by Germany, Austria, and Bulgaria against the population of the Kingdom of Serbia when Serbia was occupied.

From the Allied Powers 1919 Commission on Responsibilities for the First World War, under the heading “attempts to denationalize the inhabitants of occupied territory,” the Commission charged several crimes committed in Serbia by the Bulgarian authorities: “Efforts to impose their national characteristics on the population;” “Serbian language forbidden in private as well as in official relations. People beaten for saying “Good morning” in Serbian;” Inhabitants forced to give their names a Bulgarian form;” “Serbian books banned—were systematically destroyed;” “Archives of churches and law-courts destroyed;” “Schools and churches closed, sometimes destroyed;” “Bulgarian schools and churches substituted—attendance at school compulsory;” “Population forced to be present at Bulgarian national solemnities.” The Commission also stated that in Serbia the Austrian and German authorities “interfered with religious worship, by deportation of priests and requisition of churches for military purposes. Interfered with the Serbian language.” In United States v. Greifelt et al., in 1948, the war crimes tribunal specifically referred to the war crime of denationalization by German authorities in occupied territories during the Second World War. The tribunal observed:

Attempts of this nature were recognized as a war crime in view of the German policy in territories annexed by Germany in 1914, such as in Alsace and Lorraine. At that time, as during the war of 1939-1945, inhabitants of an occupied terri­tory were subjected to measures intended to deprive them of their national char­acteristics and to make the land and population affected a German province. The methods applied by the Nazis in Poland and other occupied territories, including once more Alsace and Lorraine, were of a similar nature with the sole difference that they were more ruthless and wider in scope than in 1914-1918. In this con­nection the policy of ‘Germanizing’ the populations concerned, as shown by the evidence in the trial under review, consisted partly in forcibly denationalizing given classes or groups of the local population, such as Poles, Alsace-Lorrainers, Slovenes and others eligible for Germanization under the German People’s List. As a result in these cases the programme of genocide was being achieved through acts which, in themselves, constitute war crimes.

The operative word used when describing the policy and acts of denationalization committed against the population of occupied States in both World Wars was “attempts.” The reason for the choice of this word was because the First World War only lasted for four years, and the Second World War only lasted six years. The American occupation is now at 131 years where the lies to conceal the occupation have become institutionalized and perceived to be the truth. As British novelist Dresden James wrote, “When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.”

Another war crime committed by German, Austrian and Bulgarian authorities in occupied territories during the First World War was usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation. Usurpation of sovereignty is the imposition of the laws of the occupying State over the territory and its population of the occupied State. During the military occupation of a State, the occupying State is obligated to temporarily administer the laws of the occupied State until there is a treaty of peace. To impose the occupying State’s laws is a crime.

The Commission on Responsibility for the First World War charged that in Poland the German and Austrian forces had “prevented the populations from organising themselves to maintain order and public security” and that they had “[a]ided the Bolshevist hordes that invaded the territories.” It said that in Romania the German author­ities had “instituted German civil courts to try disputes between subjects of the Central Powers or between a subject of these powers and a Romanian, a neutral, or subjects of Germany’s en­emies.” In Serbia, the Bulgarian authorities had “[p]roclaimed that the Serbian State no longer existed, and that Serbian territory had become Bulgarian.” It listed several other war crimes of Bulgaria committed in occupied Serbia: “Serbian law, courts and administration ousted;” “Taxes collected under Bulgarian fiscal regime;” “Serbian currency suppressed;” “Public property removed or destroyed, including books, archives and MSS (e.g., from the National Library, the University Library, Serbian Legation at Sofia, French Consulate at Uskub);” “Prohibited sending Serbian Red Cross to occupied Serbia.” It also charged that in Serbia the German and Austrian authorities had committed several war crimes: “The Austrians suspended many Serbian laws and substituted their own, especially in penal matters, in procedure, judicial or­ganisation, etc.;” and “Museums belonging to the State (e.g., Belgrade, Detchani) were emptied and the contents taken to Vienna.”

The crime of “usurpation of sovereignty” was referred to by Judge Blair of the American Military Commission in a separate opinion in United States v. Alstötter et al. of 1951, “This rule is incident to military occupation and was clearly intended to protect the inhabitants of any occupied territory against the unnecessary exercise of sovereignty by a military occupant.”

When the Hawaiian government was restored by a Council of Regency in 1997, it also held vicarious liability for its actions. As a constitutional monarchy, the primary duty of the Hawaiian government is to protect the rights of its population. In Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Larsen was alleging that he was not being protected by the Regency because the Regency, he argued, was allowing the unlawful imposition of American laws over him which led to his unfair trial and incarceration. The Regency denied this allegation but used the Permanent Court of Arbitration to recognize the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State and the Regency as its government.

This duty for governments to protect its population from war crimes reached the international level in 2005. At the United Nations World Summit in 2005, the Responsibility to Protect was unanimously adopted. The principle of the Responsibility to Protect has three pillars: (1) every State has the Responsibility to Protect its populations from four mass atrocity crimes—genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing; (2) the wider international community has the responsibility to encourage and assist individual States in meeting that responsibility; and (3) if a state is manifestly failing to protect its populations, the international community must be prepared to take appropriate collective action, in a timely and decisive manner and in accordance with the UN Charter. In 2009, the General Assembly reaffirmed the three pillars of a State’s responsibility to protect their populations from war crimes and crimes against humanity. And in 2021, the General Assembly passed a resolution on “[t]he responsibility to protect and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.” The third pillar, which may call into action State intervention, can become controversial.

Rule 158 of the International Committee of the Red Cross Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law specifies that “States must investigate war crimes allegedly committed by their nationals or armed forces, or on their territory, and, if appropriate, prosecute the suspects. They must also investigate other war crimes over which they have jurisdiction and, if appropriate, prosecute the suspects.” This “rule that States must investigate war crimes and prosecute the suspects is set forth in numerous military manuals, with respect to grave breaches, but also more broadly with respect to war crimes in general.”

What faced the Regency was how to protect a population from the commission of war crimes when that population itself had been completely denationalized into believing that the State of Hawai‘i exists as a lawful government under United States laws. The Regency’s strategy after returning from the PCA in the Netherlands was to effectively engage the devastating effects of denationalization through academic research at the university level. Since 2000, this research made public through published peer review articles, master’s theses, doctoral dissertations, books, and classroom instruction have managed to tear down the facade that the State of Hawai‘i is lawful and that the United States is an occupying Power.

During the occupation of the territory by an occupying State, there are two legal systems that exist at the same time, that of the occupied State and that of the occupying State. As Professor Krystina Marek explains, in “the first place: of these two legal orders, that of the occupied State is regular and ‘normal,’ while that of the occupying power is exceptional and limited. At the same time, the legal order of the occupant is…strictly subject to the principle of effectiveness, while the legal order of the occupied State continues to exist notwithstanding the absence of effectiveness.” The Regency knew that while the State of Hawai‘i exercised effective, but unlawful, control of Hawaiian territory there are rules that apply called international humanitarian law and the law of occupation. To knowingly violate these international laws created criminal culpability. While the Regency has no effective control as a result of the American occupation, it does have effective control of factual and legal information that it will use to compel compliance where the prolonged occupation will eventually come to an end by a treaty of peace.

Determined to hold to account individuals who have committed war crimes and human rights violations throughout the Hawaiian Islands, being the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the Council of Regency, by proclamation on April 17, 2019, established a Royal Commission of Inquiry (“RCI”) in similar fashion to the United States proposal of establishing a Commission of Inquiry after the First World War “to consider generally the relative culpability of the authors of the war and also the question of their culpability as to the violations of the laws and customs of war committed during its course.” Dr. David Keanu Sai serves as Head of the RCI and Professor Federico Lenzerini from the University of Siena, Italy, as its Deputy Head.

On February 7, 2024, the RCI sent a letter of communication to all members of the State of Hawai‘i legislature and the County Councils regarding the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation. In the letter, Dr. Sai apprised them of his communication he’s had since April 17, 2023, with Major General Kenneth Hara, State of Hawai‘i Adjutant General, regarding his duty to transform the State of Hawai‘i into a Military Government and to begin to administer the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom as the occupied State. Dr. Sai directed Major General Hara that, in accordance with international laws and Army regulations, he will issue a proclamation transforming the State of Hawai‘i into a Military Government. Should he fail to do so would be a dereliction in the performance of his duty and the war crime of omission.

Major General Hara would also be made the subject of an RCI war criminal report for the purpose of prosecution. There are no statutes of limitation for war crimes, which means a person can be prosecuted regardless of his age. In 2022, a German court convicted a 97-year-old women for war crimes she committed during the Second World War.

Major General Hara also has the duty to protect officials and employees of the State of Hawai‘i and the Counties who, like the Legislature and County Councils, are committing the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation. The RCI has given more than enough time for Major General Hara to have completed his due diligence done by his Staff Judge Advocate Lieutenant Colonel Lloyd Phelps as to the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an occupied State. On July 27, 2023, he acknowledged that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist, which consequently triggered his duty.

Polish Journal of Political Science Publishes Book Review of the Royal Commission of Inquiry’s eBook on Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom

Awareness of the American occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom is spreading in academic circles throughout Europe. In 2022, the Polish Journal of Political Science published a book review by Dr. Anita Budziszewska of the Royal Commission on Inquiry: Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Dr. Budziszewska is a faculty member of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Warsaw. In the years 2011-2020 she served as the coordinator for mobility, exchange and international cooperation at the IIR UW and at the WNPiSM UW. During the years 2016-2020 served as the Plenipotentiary of the Dean of the Faculty of Political Science and International Studies for international cooperation under the Erasmus+ program (European Union).

Dr. Budziszewska was member of the Polish mission to the United Nations during the 43rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva (43rd session of UN HRC). In 2020-2021 external expert of the project Polska360 organized/financed by the Kresy RP. Foundation and the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland. She conducts classes on Elements of Diplomatic Protocol as part of the training organized by the Polish Olympic Committee and the Polish Corporation of Sports Managers. Member of the Organizing Committee of 8th Pan-European Congress of International Relations in Warsaw (2013) co-organized with the European International Studies Association.

Dr. Budziszewska completed scientific and professional internship, e.g. at the Polish Representation to the United Nations Office in Geneva. Study and training stays, among others, at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, the University of Zurich and the University of Oxford. International speeches, lectures and papers abroad, e.g. in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Finland, Croatia, Hungary and the UK. Member of the European Research Network on Philanthropy, International Studies Association and European International Studies Association.

Here follows her book review that was published in volume 8, issue 2 of the Polish Journal of Political Science.

The subject of review here is the multi-author publication Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom, edited by Dr. David Keanu Sai, Head of the Hawaiian Royal Commission of Inquiry, published in 2020. The book is divided into three parts, i.e. Part 1 Investigating war crimes and human rights violations committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom; Part 2 The prolonged occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom; and Part 3 Hawaiian law, treaties with foreign states and international humanitarian law. This final part represents a collection of source documents in such fields as Hawaiian law, but also international-law treaties with foreign states (in fact 18 including the USA)—dating back to the 19th century. A selection of treaties from the sphere of international humanitarian law has also been made and included.

The essence of the publication nevertheless resides in its two first parts, in which the authors offer an in-depth treatment of the complicated long-time relationship between Hawaii and the United States. Nevertheless, the thesis pursued here overall is the straightforward one that Hawaii has been occupied illegally and incorporated into the United States unlawfully, with that occupation continu­ing to the present day and needing to be understood in such terms. The authors also pursue the dif­ficult thread of the story relating to war crimes.

The above main assumption of the book is emphasised from the very beginning of Part 1, which is preceded by the text of the Proclamation Establishing the Royal Commission of Inquiry, recalling that that Commission was established 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.”

In fact, the main aim of the above institution as called into being has been to pursue any and all of­fences and violations in the spheres of humanitarian law, human rights and war crimes committed by the Americans in the course of their occupation of Hawaii—which is given to have begun on 17 January 1893.

Presented next is the genesis and history of the Commission’s activity described by its aforementioned Head—Dr. David Keanu Sai. He presents the Commission’s activity in detail, by reference to concrete examples; with this part going on to recreate the entire history of the Hawaiian-US relations, beginning with the first attempt at territorial annexation. This thread of the story is sup­plemented with examples and source texts relating to the recognition of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain countries (e.g. the UK and France, and taken as evidence of international regard for the in­tegrity of statehood). Particularly noteworthy here is the author’s exceptionally scrupulous analysis of the history of Hawaii and its state sovereignty. No obvious flaws are to be found in the analysis presented.

It is then in the same tone that the author proceeds with an analysis relating to international law, so as to point to the aspects of Hawaii’s illegal occupation by the United States—including an un­precedentedly detailed analysis of the contents of documents, resolutions, mutual agreements and official political speeches, but also reference to other scientific research projects. This very interest­ing strand of the story is followed by Matthew Craven in Chapter 3 on the Continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State under International Law. Notwithstanding the standpoint on the legality of the occupation or annexation of Hawaii by the United States, the matter of the right to self-determination keeps springing up now and again.

Considerable attention is also paid to the multi-dimensional nature of the plebiscite organised in 1959 (with regard to Hawaii’s incorporation as a state into the United States of America), with the relative lack of transparency of organisation pointed out, along with various breaches and transgres­sions that may have taken place.

In turn, in Chapter 4—on War Crimes Related to the United States’ Belligerent Occupation of the Ha­waiian Kingdom—William Schabas makes attempts to verify the assertion, explaining the term war crimes and referring to the wording of the relevant definition that international law is seen to have generated. The main problem emerging from this concerns lack of up-to-date international provi­sions as regards the above definition. The reader’s attention is also drawn to the incomplete nature of the catalogue of actions or crimes that could have constituted war crimes (in line with the observa­tions of Lemkin).

While offering narration and background, this Chapter’s author actually eschews Hawaiian-US examples. Instead, he brings the discussion around to cases beyond Hawaii, and in so doing also invokes examples from case-law (e.g. of Criminal Courts and Tribunals). While this is a very interesting choice of approach, it would still have been interesting for the valuable introduction to the subject matter to be supplemented by concrete examples relating to Hawaii, and to the events occur­ring there during the period under study.

Chapter 5—on International Human Rights Law and Self-Determination of Peoples Related to the United States’ Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom—allows its author Federico Lenzerini to contribute hugely to the analysis of the subject matter, given his consideration of the human rights protection system and its development with a focus on the right to self-determination. The author separates those dimensions of the law in question that do not relate to the Hawaiian Kingdom, as well as those that may have application to the Hawaiian society. Indeed, the process ends with Ap­plicability of the Right to Self-Determination During the American Occupation—a chapter written with exceptional thoroughness, objectivity and synthesis. The author first tells the story on how the human rights protection system came to be formulated (by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Covenants of 1996, but also by reference to other Conventions). Rightly signalled is the institutional dimension to the protection of human rights, notably the Human Rights Committee founded to protect the rights outlined in the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It is of course re­called that the US is not a party to the relevant Protocols, which is preventing US citizens from assert­ing the rights singled out in the 1966 Covenants. Again rightly, attention is also paid to the regional human rights mechanism provided for by the 1969 American Convention on Human Rights, which also lacks the United States as a party.

The focus here is naturally on the right to self-determination, which the author correctly terms the only officially recognised right of a collective nature (if one excludes the rights of tribal peoples). The further part of the chapter looks at the obligations of states when it comes to safeguarding their citizens’ fundamental human rights. The philosophical context underpinning the right to self-determination is considered next (with attention rightly paid first to liberty related aspects and the philosophical standpoints of Locke and Rousseau, along with the story of the formulation of this right’s ideological basis and reference to what is at times a lack of clarity regarding its shape and scope (not least in Hawaii’s case). What is therefore welcome is the wide-ranging commentary of­fered on the dimensions to the above rights that do relate to Hawaiian society as well as those that do not.

In summing up the substantive and conceptual content, it is worth pointing to the somewhat inter­disciplinary nature of the research encompassed. Somewhat simplifying things, this book can first be seen as an in-depth analysis of matters historical (with much space devoted to the roots of the relations between Hawaii and the United States, to the issue of this region’s occupation and the gen­esis of Hawaii’s incorporation into the USA). These aspects have all been discussed with exceptional thoroughness and striking scrupulousness, in line with quotations from many official documents and source texts. This is all pursued deliberately, given the authors’ presumed intention to illustrate the genesis of the whole context underpinning the Hawaiian-US relations, as well as the further context through which Hawaii’s loss of state sovereignty came about. This strand to the story gains excellent illustration thanks to Dr. Keanu Sai.

The second part is obviously international law related and it also has much space devoted to it by the authors. The publication’s core theses gain support in the analysis of many and varied international documents, be these either mutual agreements between Hawaii and the United States or international Conventions, bilateral agreements of other profiles, resolutions, instruments de­veloped under the aegis of the UN or those of a regional nature (though not only concerned with the Americas, as much space is devoted to European solutions, and European law on the protection of human rights in particular). There is also much reference to international case-law and juris­prudence in a broader sense, the aim being to indicate the precedents already arrived at, and to set these against the international situation in which Hawaii finds itself.

However, notwithstanding this publication’s title, the authors here do not seek to “force-feed” readers with their theses regarding Hawaii’s legal status. Rather, by reaching out to a wide range of sources in international law as well as from history, they provide sufficient space for independ­ent reflection and drawing of conclusions. In this regard, it would be interesting if few remarks were devoted to present-day relations between Hawaii and the rest of the USA, with a view to achieving a more-profound illustration of the state of this relationship. However, it might seem from the book’s overall context that this was done deliberately so that the foundations of this unique dispute gain proper presentation. All is then augmented further by Part 3—the collection of agreements and docu­ments considered to sustain the main assumptions of the publication under review. Were I to force myself to point out any failure of the book to meet expectations, I would choose the cultural dimen­sion. There is no way of avoiding an impression—only enhanced by cover-to-cover reading—that this publication is deeply rooted in the Hawaiians’ sense of cultural and historical identity. So it would have been interesting to see the cultural dimension addressed, including through a more in-depth analysis of social awareness. At the very least, I have in mind here Article 27 UDHR, traditionally regarded as the source of the right to culture and the right to participate in cultural life. To be added to that might be Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. While (as Boutros Boutros-Ghali noted in 1970) the right in question initially meant access to high culture, there has since been a long process of change that has seen an anthropological dimension conferred upon both culture and the right thereto. A component under that right is the right to a cultural identity—which would seem to be the key space in the Hawaiian context. The UN and UNESCO have in fact been paying a great deal of attention to this matter, with the key relevant documents being the 2005 Conven­tion on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions that in general links these issues with the human rights dimension as well as the Recommendation on Participation by the People at Large in Cultural Life and their Contribution to It (1976).

So a deeply-rooted cultural-identity dimension would have offered an interesting complement to the publication’s research material, all the more so as it would presumably reveal the attempts to annihilate that culture (thus striking not merely at statehood, but at national integrity of iden­tity). An interesting approach would then have been to show in details whether and to what extent this is resisted by the USA (e.g. in regard to the upholding of symbols of material and non-material cultural heritage).

However, given the assumption the book is based on—i.e. the focus on state sovereignty (not the right of cultural minorities, but the right of a nation to self-determination), the above “omission” actually takes nothing away from the value of the research presented. However, the aspect of national identity—of which cultural and historical identity is a key component—may represent an impulse for further, more in-depth research.

I regard this publication as an exceptionally valuable one that systematises matters of the legal sta­tus of the Hawaiian Kingdom, taking up the key issues surrounding the often ignored topic of a dif­ficult historical context occurring between Hawaii and the United States. The issue at stake here has been regenerated synthetically, on multiple levels, with a penetrating analysis of the regulations and norms in international law applying to Hawaii – starting from potential occupied-territory status, and moving through to multi-dimensional issues relating to both war crimes and human rights. This is one of the few books – if not the only one – to describe its subject matter so comprehensively and completely. I therefore see this work as being of exceptional value and considerable scientific impor­tance. It may serve not only as an academic source, but also a professional source of knowledge for both practicing lawyers and historians dealing with the matter on hand. The ambition of those who sought to take up this difficult topic can only be commended.

The Significance and the Importance of the Two Operational Plans of the Council of Regency

When dealing with a 130-year crisis of a prolonged and illegal American occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom, planning is a crucial component that informs where we are today and where we want to be tomorrow. An operational plan is informed by due diligence of the situation, which is a gathering of information relevant to the situation at hand and how it got to the current situation. In the military, this is colloquially known as gathering intel before you come up with a battle plan.

Due diligence is “depending on the relative facts of the special case.” It is the assessment of a situation before a decision should be made. When due diligence is done, the person doing it must be mindful of their own biases and assumptions. To gather information through one’s own bias is what is called “confirmation bias” where the gatherer of information only selects information that would confirm his/her own biases. This is also called cherry picking.

In the Hawaiian situation, there is an abundance of assumptions that are false such as the Hawaiian Islands were colonized by the United States in the nineteenth century, and, as a colonized people, Native Hawaiians are an Indigenous People by definition of the United Nations. United Nations defines Indigenous Peoples as tribal nations that exist with an independent State not of their own making. Arriving at this conclusion was done through confirmation bias.

The Council of Regency sought to gather information through the lens of both the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom and international law that includes international humanitarian law and the law of occupation. It was through this process that revealed that the Hawaiian Kingdom, which existed as an internationally recognized sovereign and independent State continued to exist since November 28, 1843, despite the illegal overthrow of its government by the United States on January 17, 1893. This continued existence stemmed from the international principle of inalienability of sovereignty of a State, and the only way a State can alienate its sovereignty is by its consent through a treaty of cession with the acquiring State. There exists no such treaty, therefore, the Hawaiian State continues to exist.

It was based on this premise that the government was restored as a Council of Regency in 1997 to provisionally represent the Hawaiian State both domestically and abroad. The actions to be taken by the Council of Regency would be in line with its strategic plan that entailed three phases. Phase I—verification of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State and a subject of international law. Phase II—exposure of Hawaiian Statehood within the framework of international law and the laws of occupation as it affects the realm of politics and economics at both the international and domestic levels. Phase III—restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an independent State and a subject of international law. Phase III is when the American occupation comes to an end.

Phase I was achieved when the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), before establishing the arbitration tribunal in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom on June 9, 2000, acknowledged the continued existence of the Hawaiian State, and the Council of Regency as its government. Phase II, exposure of the Hawaiian State, was initiated during oral hearings on December 7, 8 and 11, 2000, at the PCA in The Hague. Phase II continued at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa when the Chairman of the Council of Regency, David Keanu Sai, entered the political science graduate program, where he received a master’s degree specializing in international relations and public law in 2004 and a Ph.D. degree in 2008 on the subject of the continuity of Hawaiian Statehood while under an American prolonged belligerent occupation since 1893.

The exposure through academic research also motivated historian Tom Coffman to change the title of his 1998 book from Nation Within: The Story of America’s Annexation of the Nation of Hawai‘i, to Nation Within—The History of the American Occupation of Hawai‘i. Coffman explained the change in his note on the second edition and took a quote from Dr. Sai’s law article A Slippery Path Towards Hawaiian Indigeneity. Coffman wrote:

I am compelled to add that the continued relevance of this book reflects a far-reaching political, moral and intellectual failure of the United States to recognize and deal with the takeover of Hawai‘i. In the book’s subtitle, the word Annexation has been replaced by the word Occupation, referring to America’s occupation of Hawai‘i. Where annexation connotes legality by mutual agreement, the act was not mutual and therefore not legal. Since by definition of international law there was no annexation, we are left then with the word occupation.

In making this change, I have embraced the logical conclusion of my research into the events of 1893 to 1898 in Honolulu and Washington, D.C. I am prompted to take this step by a growing body of historical work by a new generation of Native Hawaiian scholars. Dr. Keanu Sai writes, “The challenge for … the fields of political science, history, and law is to distinguish between the rule of law and the politics of power.” In the history of the Hawai‘i, the might of the United States does not make it right.

It took the Council of Regency just over 20 years to change the conversation from colonization and indigenous peoples rights to military occupation and the rights of Hawaiian subjects under the law of occupation. With the shifting of the historical lens, legal consequences began to emerge especially with the involvement of Professor Matthew Craven from the University of London, SOAS, School of Law, who authored a legal opinion on the Continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State under international law; Professor William Schabas from Middlesex University London, School of Law, and a renowned expert in international criminal law, who authored a Legal Opinion on War Crimes related to the United States belligerent occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom; and Professor Federico Lenzerini from the University of Siena, Italy, Department of Political and International Science, who authored Legal Opinion on the authority of the Council of Regency of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Both the Operational Plans for Transitioning the State of Hawai‘i into a Military Government and Transitioning the Military Government to the Hawaiian Kingdom Government, which will bring the prolonged American occupation to an end, is a culmination of years of research and exposure and is a subset of plans under phase II of the strategic plan. As such we are moving toward the end of phase II and preparing for phase III that will bring the 130-year crisis to an end.

The two operational plans are clear as to where we are, where we need to get to, and the path to get there. The essential tasks and the implied tasks in each of the plans are measurable, and, most importantly, flexible when achieving the tasks. They allow flexibility to adjust to issues unforeseen such as time and allocation of resources. The Council of Regency established a 3-year window for the occupation to come to an end, but it doesn’t prevent unforeseen and extenuating circumstances to adjust the timeline. When the American occupation of Japan began in 1945, it was thought that it would last 3 years. But circumstances extended the occupation an additional 4 years. The same could happen in the Hawaiian situation, but the Council of Regency needed to set an initial timeline of 3 years.

Clarifying Army Regulations and Terms Regarding a Military Government of Hawai‘i

After securing Phase I of the of the Council of Regency’s strategic plan where in 1999 the Permanent Court of Arbitration “verified the Hawaiian Kingdom as independent State and subject of international law,” Phase II was initiated to expose “Hawaiian Statehood within the framework of international law and the laws of occupation as it affects the realm of politics and economics at both the international and domestic levels.” This exposure has brought out many aspects of international law and the law of occupation that many have heard only for the first time.

There are terms such as international humanitarian law, which the military refers to as the law of armed conflict. International law distinguishes between a State and its government. What occurred on January 17, 1893, was that United States troops and a diplomat overthrew the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The Hawaiian State was not affected by the overthrow and remained a subject of international law with its rights and duties intact. This type of situation under international humanitarian law is called belligerent occupation where the Occupying State must administer the laws of the Occupied State until a treaty of peace comes into effect.

The only way the United States could have acquired the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom, called the Hawaiian Islands, is by way of a treaty of peace that cedes Hawaiian territory to the United States. The United States was unable to acquire Hawaiian territory by a treaty of cession because it overthrew the government. A treaty requires the government of a State to cede its territory. Instead, the United States enacted a congressional joint resolution purporting to have annexed the Hawaiian Islands at the height of the Spanish-American War in 1898. Since 1898, the United States has been unlawfully imposing its laws over Hawaiian territory, which is the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation.

In the case of Hawai‘i, we are dealing with role of the Adjutant General of the Army and Air National Guard. Under federal and State law, the National Guard can serve two commanders in chief but not at the same time. According to Article II, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the President becomes the commander in chief of the National Guard “when called into the actual Service of the United States.” Until that time, the commander in chief of the National Guard is the Governor of the State.

Article V of the State of Hawai‘i Constitution provides that the Governor is the Chief Executive of the State of Hawai‘i. He is also the commander-in-chief of the Army and Air National Guard and appoints the Adjutant General who “shall be the executive head of the department of defense and commanding general of the militia of the State.” Section 121-9 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes states, “The adjutant general shall perform such duties as are prescribed by law and such other military duties consistent with the regulations and customs of the armed forces of the United States as required by the governor.” In other words, the Adjutant General operates under two regimes of law, that of the State of Hawai‘i and that of the United States Army.

When the National Guard is called into State active duty, not federal active duty, the Governor is the commander-in-chief and has command and control. Under him is the Adjutant General that has command and control of the forces that have been activated. This is what occurred when certain units of the Army and Air National Guard were activated in 1992 when Hurricane Iniki devastated the island of Kaua‘i. Governor John Waihe‘e was the commander-in-chief and Brigadier General Edward Richardson was the Adjutant General. When the Hawai‘i Army and Air National Guard were called to federal active duty for deployment to Iraq during Second Gulf War in 2005, the commander-in-chief changed from State of Hawai‘i Governor Linda Lingle to President George W. Bush.

These American laws, however, don’t apply in the Hawai‘i situation. Unlike the other 49 Governors of States in the Federal Union their authorities derive from American laws that include both Federal and State laws. Because the State of Hawai‘i is outside of the borders of the United States, and as such is foreign territory, the authority of the State of Hawai‘i to include its Governor is stripped. The reason for this is the authority of the Governor derives from the 1959 Statehood Act, which under international law is a war crime. What allows the State of Hawai‘i to exist, however, is international humanitarian law and the law of occupation. Under these laws, the State of Hawai‘i is a civilian armed force acting for the United States as an occupying State.

The decision to establish a military government in foreign territory is not with the U.S. President as commander-in-chief but rather with the most senior commander of the armed forces in foreign territory that has come under effective control. Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations states, “Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.” The State of Hawai‘i, and not the Federal government, is in effective control of 94% of Hawaiian territory.

According to United States Army Field Manual 27-5—Civil Affairs Military Government, the theater commander over foreign territory to come under military occupation bears full responsibility for establishing a military government. That person is a general officer and designated as military governor and is authorized to delegate his authority and title, in whole or in part, to a subordinate commander.

Section 8 of FM 27-5 states, “In occupied territory the commander, by virtue of his position, has supreme legislative, executive, and judicial authority, limited only by the laws and customs of war and by directives from higher authority.” Section 3 states that the reasons for establishing a military government “are either military necessity as a right, or as an obligation under international law.” And since military occupation “suspends the operation of the government of the occupied territory, the obligation arises under international law for the occupying force to exercise the functions of civil government looking toward the restoration of maintenance of public order.”

In this situation, it is the State of Hawai‘i Adjutant General that has the responsibility and duty to establish a military government for Hawai‘i under international law and begin to administer Hawaiian Kingdom laws and the provisional laws in accordance with 2014 Proclamation of Provisional Laws by the Council of Regency.

Council of Regency Lays Out Plan for the State of Hawai‘i to be a Military Government

For 130 years the United States violated international law and the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom. These violations were concealed by a false narrative that the Hawaiian Islands became a part of the United States in 1898, which led to the establishment of the Territory of Hawai‘i in 1900, and then the State of Hawai‘i in 1959.

These three acts were done by congressional legislation, which have no effect beyond the borders of the United States. This is analogous to Congress enacting legislation that establishes an American government in Ottawa, Canada. Without a treaty where the Hawaiian Kingdom ceded its territory to the United States like the Mexican government ceded its northern territory to the United States in 1848, congressional laws have no effect within Hawaiian territory. This legal principle of United States law is a pulled grenade pin that renders these acts not only unlawful under international law but are also considered the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation.

Usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation was listed as a war crime in 1919 report by the Commission on Responsibilities of the Paris Peace Conference that was established by the Allied and Associated Powers at war with Germany and its allies during World War I. The Commission was especially concerned with acts perpetrated in occupied territories against non-combatants and civilians. Usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation is the imposition of the laws and administrative policies and measures of the Occupying State over the territory of the Occupied State.  

When the United States unlawfully overthrew the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom on January 17, 1893, the Hawaiian Kingdom continued to exist as a State, which the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom, acknowledged in 1999. The law of occupation mandated the United States to establish a military government in order to temporarily administer the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom until a treaty of peace comes into force.

In 1828, U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall, in American Insurance Company v. Canter, wrote that “the holding of conquered territory is mere military occupation, until its fate shall be determined at the treaty of peace. If it be ceded by the treaty, the acquisition is confirmed and the ceded territory becomes a part of the nation to which it is annexed, either on the terms stipulated in the treaty of cession or on such as its new master shall impose.” There is no treaty of cession between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States.

Because military occupations do not last for long periods, the cornerstone of the law of occupation is to maintain the status quo of the occupied State. This means that the occupying State cannot impose its laws over occupied territory, change the governmental institutions of the occupied State, or transfer its own citizens into the occupied State. For the past 130 years, the United States did exactly that, which complicates the situation today. However, the laws of occupation and the principles of necessity are flexible enough to come up with a comprehensive plan of compliance. It is said that necessity is the mother of all inventions.

The first step is to identify what entity of the occupying State is responsible for establishing a military government. Is it the United States federal government or the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties? Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations states that territory is occupied when it comes under the effective control of the occupying State, which triggers the law of occupation. Of the 4 million acres that comprise Hawaiian territory, the State of Hawai‘i is in effective control of 94%, while the United States federal government is in control of 6%. Having met the requirement of effective control of occupied territory, the State of Hawai‘i and not the federal government has the responsibility to established the military government to temporarily administer the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

With a view to bringing compliance with international humanitarian law by the State of Ha­wai‘i and its Counties and recognizing their effective control of Hawaiian territory in accordance with Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations, the Council of Regency pro­claimed and recognized their existence as the administration of the occupying State on June 3, 2019.

The State of Hawai‘i and its Counties, under the laws and customs of war during occupation, can now serve as the administrator of Hawaiian Kingdom laws. Prior to the proclamation, the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties were established by virtue of U.S. Congressional legislation unlawfully imposed within Hawaiian territory, being the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation. According to Professor Schabas, the action or conduct “of the offense of ‘usurpation of sovereignty’ would consist of the imposition of legislation or administrative measures by the occupying power that go beyond those required by what is necessary for military purposes of the occupation.”

The next step is to address the fact that Hawaiian Kingdom laws in 1893 are not up to date because of the non-compliance by the United States at the time of international law. Nevertheless, it is still a rule of international law that Hawaiian laws must be administered and not American laws, which is a war crime.

To address this issue, the Council of Regency on October 10, 2014, proclaimed provisional laws of the kingdom to be any and all American laws, whether federal, State of Hawai‘i or the Counties, that are not “contrary to the express, reason and spirit of the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom prior to July 6, 1887, the international laws of occupation and international humanitarian law.” Accompanying the proclamation of provisional laws is a memorandum by the Chairman of the Council of Regency who provides a formula to be used when determining which American municipal laws can be the provisional laws of the kingdom.

In determining which American municipal laws shall constitute a provisional law of the kingdom, the following questions need to be answered. If any question is answered with “yes,” with the exception of question 5, then it is not to be considered a provisional law.

1. The first consideration begins with Hawaiian constitutional alignment. Does the American municipal law violate any provisions of the 1864 Constitution, as amended?

2. Does it run contrary to a monarchical form of government? In other words, does it promote a republican form of government.

3. If the American municipal law has no comparison to Hawaiian Kingdom law, would it run contrary to the Hawaiian Kingdom’s police power?

4. If the American municipal law is comparable to Hawaiian Kingdom law, does it run contrary to the Hawaiian statute?

5. Does the American municipal law infringe vested rights secured under Hawaiian law?

6. And finally, does it infringe the obligations of the Hawaiian Kingdom under customary international law or by virtue of it being a Contracting State to its treaties? The last question would also be applied to Hawaiian Kingdom laws enumerated in the Civil Code, together with the session laws of 1884 and 1886, and the Penal Code.

In his memorandum, the Chairman applied the formula to determine whether the State of Hawai‘i statutes on murder, manslaughter, and negligent homicide can be considered provisional laws of the kingdom. His conclusion was yes. The memo states that the State of Hawai‘i laws on murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide are not “’contrary to the express, reason and spirit of the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom prior to July 6, 1887, the international laws of occupation and international humanitarian law.’ To the extent that the felony murder rule is omitted, the State of Hawai‘i law on murder would be consistent with the Hawaiian Kingdom law on murder.”

The final step is to draft a comprehensive plan of action for the State of Hawai‘i to transform itself into a military government to administer the laws of 1893 that are augmented with provisional laws while the State of Hawai‘i and its Counties are in effective control of Hawaiian territory. On April 7, 2023, the Chairman authored another memorandum on the role and function of the military government of Hawai‘i.

The memo first dispels with the American annexation of the Hawaiian Islands in 1898, the establishment of the Territory of Hawai‘i in 1900, and the changing of the name of the Territory to the State of Hawai‘i in 1959. Each of these acts stem from legislation by the United States Congress, which has no legal effect beyond the borders of  the United States. The memo then addresses the law of occupation and the duty of a military government of the occupying State to administer the laws of the occupied State. The legal status of the State of Hawai‘i under international humanitarian law is then addressed.

Under international law, the State of Hawai‘i is not an American government but rather a civilian armed force of the occupying State. It can claim no authority under American law because the American law that established the State of Hawai‘i in 1959 has no effect outside of United States borders, and when it is imposed in Hawaiian territory it constitutes the war crime of usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation. However, according to the memo, “Article 1 of the 1907 Hague Regulations provides that the laws, rights and duties of war apply not only to the occupying State’s army but also to its civilian armed forces. In other words, the State of Hawai‘i can exist within the confines of international humanitarian law and not American municipal laws.”

The memo then addresses the role and function of a military government. Under the heading of Military Government, the memo explains that there “is a difference between military government and martial law. While both comprise military jurisdiction, the former is exercised over territory of a foreign State under military occupation, and the latter over loyal territory of the State enforcing. Actions of a military government are governed by international humanitarian law while martial law is governed by the domestic laws of the State enforcing it.”

The memo then explains that according to the practice of the United States when establishing a military government in foreign territory, that responsibility is the Army and not the Navy, Marines or Air Force. Military governments usually take over the governmental infrastructure of the occupied State and can augment certain aspects of the infrastructure in order to effectively carry out the mission of a military occupation. In the Hawaiian situation, the memo states that there are four “essential tasks set forth in the Hague and Geneva Conventions […] as follows: (1) Restore and ensure public order and safety, (2) provide medical care, supplies and subsistence, (3) ensure the care and education of children, [and] (4) respect private property and properly manage public property.”

Because the Army is responsible for this function of the occupying State, it “took steps to prepare for military occupations by publishing two field manuals—FM 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, and FM 27-5, Civil Affairs Military Government. Chapter 6 of FM 27-10 covers military occupation. Section 355 of FM 27-10 states, ‘[m]ilitary occupation is a question of fact. It presupposes a hostile invasion, resisted or unresisted, as a result of which the invader has rendered the invaded government incapable of publicly exercising its authority, and that the invader has successfully substituted its own authority for that of the legitimate government in the territory invaded.’ FM 27-10 has been superseded by FM 6-27, The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Land Warfare. Chapter 6 covers occupation.”

The State of Hawai‘i official with the duty and obligation to transform the State of Hawai‘i and the Counties into a military government by proclamation is the Adjutant General who is in charge of the Army and Air National Guard. The memo explains that the “Adjutant General is trained in Army doctrine and regulations, to include the 1907 Hague Regulations and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Conventions, for this type of a situation in occupied territory, where a civilian is not. The Adjutant General would be the military governor that presides over a military government.”

The memo makes reference to the 1893 proclamation by the provisional government as an example to use in drafting a proclamation today. “Although unlawful, the proclamation of 17 January 1893 by the so-called provisional government can be useful as to the wording of the military governor’s proclamation today because government officials continued in place with the exception of Queen Lili‘uokalani, her Cabinet, and the Marshal of the police force. The laws were also continued to be in effect. In the situation now, government officials would remain in place, with exceptions not in line with the law of occupation, and the laws would continue to be in effect as provisional laws together with Hawaiian Kingdom laws that existed prior to 1893. The military governor’s proclamation would, in a sense, be a reversal of the provisional government’s proclamation and in line with the law of occupation.”

Following the proclamation of a military government, the memo states, “The first order of business for the military government would be to disband the legislative bodies of the State of Hawai‘i and the Counties in order to stop the enactment of American municipal laws. The function of a military government is to administer the laws of the occupied State, which in this case include certain American municipal laws, as situations of fact, that have become provisional laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom in accordance with the formula to determine which American municipal laws can be considered provisional laws of the kingdom.”

The memo then states, “Second order of business is for the military governor to determine which American municipal laws can be considered the provisional laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom during the American military occupation that augments and not replaces the Civil Code, together with the session laws of 1884 and 1886, and the Penal Code. These provisional laws will need to be made public by proclamation of the military governor. Paragraph 6-53 of FM 6-27 states that “the population of the occupied territory must be informed of any alteration, suspension, or repeal of existing laws and of the enactment of new laws.” The memo concludes with:

In light of the legal opinion on war crimes related to the United States belligerent occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by Professor Schabas on 25 July 2019, a renowned jurist and expert on international criminal law, genocide and war crimes, and the oral statement given to the United Nations Human Rights Council on 22 March 2022 by two NGOs—International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the American Association of Jurists that war crimes are being committed in Hawai‘i, it should warrant the Adjutant General to take this matter seriously because of the legal consequences of the United States’ violation of international humanitarian law for over a century.

The only way to stop war crimes from being committed with impunity by State of Hawai‘i and County officials is to comply with the law of occupation. In Army jargon, this is a command decision to be made at the top of the chain of command.

Situation in Ukraine: ICC judges issue arrest warrants against Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova

International Criminal Court Press Release
March 17, 2023

Today, 17 March 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”) issued warrants of arrest for two individuals in the context of the situation in Ukraine: Mr Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Ms Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova.

Mr Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, born on 7 October 1952, President of the Russian Federation, is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation (under articles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute). The crimes were allegedly committed in Ukrainian occupied territory at least from 24 February 2022. There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, (i) for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others (article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute), and (ii) for his failure to exercise control properly over civilian and military subordinates who committed the acts, or allowed for their commission, and who were under his effective authority and control, pursuant to superior responsibility (article 28(b) of the Rome Statute).

Ms Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, born on 25 October 1984, Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the  President of the Russian Federation, is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation (under articles 8(2)(a)(vii) and 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute). The crimes were allegedly committed in Ukrainian occupied territory at least from 24 February 2022. There are reasonable grounds to believe that Ms Lvova-Belova bears individual criminal responsibility for the aforementioned crimes, for having committed the acts directly, jointly with others and/or through others (article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute).

Pre-Trial Chamber II considered, based on the Prosecution’s applications of 22 February 2023, that there are reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, in prejudice of Ukrainian children.

The Chamber considered that the warrants are secret in order to protect victims and witnesses and also to safeguard the investigation. Nevertheless, mindful that the conduct addressed in the present situation is allegedly ongoing, and that the public awareness of the warrants may contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes, the Chamber considered that it is in the interests of justice to authorise the Registry to publicly disclose the existence of the warrants, the name of the suspects, the crimes for which the warrants are issued, and the modes of liability as established by the Chamber.

The abovementioned warrants of arrests were issued pursuant to the applications submitted by the Prosecution on 22 February 2023.

A Lesson for War Crimes Committed in Hawai‘i: Last Year a German Court has Convicted a 97-year-old Ex-Secretary at Nazi Camp

December 20, 2022
Associated Press

Irmgard Furchner sits in the courtroom at the beginning of the trial day in Itzehoe, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. Christian Charisius/AP

BERLIN (AP) — A German court on Tuesday convicted a 97-year-old woman of being an accessory to more than 10,000 murders for her role as a secretary to the SS commander of the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp during World War II.

Irmgard Furchner was accused of being part of the apparatus that helped the camp near Danzig, now the Polish city of Gdansk, function. The Itzehoe state court in northern Germany gave her a two-year suspended sentence for being an accessory to murder in 10,505 cases and an accessory to attempted murder in five cases.

The court said judges were convinced that Furchner “knew and, through her work as a stenographer in the commandant’s office of the Stutthof concentration camp from June 1, 1943, to April 1, 1945, deliberately supported the fact that 10,505 prisoners were cruelly killed by gassings, by hostile conditions in the camp,” by transportation to the Auschwitz death camp and by being sent on death marches at the end of the war.

“The promotion of these acts by the accused took place through the completion of paperwork” in the camp commander’s office, a court statement said. “This activity was necessary for the organization of the camp and the execution of the cruel, systematic acts of killing.”

The verdict and sentence were in line with prosecutors’ demands. Defense lawyers had asked for their client to be acquitted, arguing that the evidence hadn’t shown beyond doubt that Furchner knew about the systematic killings at the camp, meaning there was no proof of intent as required for criminal liability.

In her closing statement, Furchner said she was sorry for what had happened and regretted that she had been at Stutthof at the time.

Furchner appeared to follow the verdict attentively but didn’t show any obvious emotion. It wasn’t immediately clear whether she would appeal, though lawyer Wolf Molkentin said the defense team thinks the case presents “insurmountable doubts” as to her guilt.

But presiding Judge Dominik Gross said it was “simply beyond all imagination” that Furchner didn’t notice the killings at Stutthof, German news agency dpa reported. He said she could see from her office the collection point where new prisoners had to wait after arrival, and the crematorium was in constant use in the fall of 1944, with smoke spreading across the camp.

Furchner was tried in juvenile court because she was 18 and 19 at the time of the alleged crimes and the court couldn’t establish beyond a doubt her “maturity of mind” at the time of the alleged offenses. Gross nonetheless noted Tuesday that she could have resigned from her position at any time.

Furchner failed to appear for the start of her trial in September 2021, but police later picked her up and she was placed in detention for several days.

Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said that “today’s verdict is the best that could be achieved, given the fact that she was tried in a juvenile court.”

“In view of Furchner’s recent statement to the court that she ‘regretted everything,’ we were concerned that the court might accept her defense attorney’s plea for an acquittal,” Zuroff said in a statement. “Yet given her claim that she had no knowledge of the murders being committed in the camp, her regret was far from convincing.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said of the verdict that “it shows that it’s never too late to ensure that there was some accountability for crimes committed of such horrific nature.”

Prosecutors in Itzehoe said during the proceedings that Furchner’s trial may be the last of its kind. However, a special federal prosecutors’ office in Ludwigsburg tasked with investigating Nazi-era war crimes says prosecutors in various parts of Germany have five more cases pending, dpa reported.

Charges of murder and accessory to murder aren’t subject to a statute of limitations.

Initially a collection point for Jews and non-Jewish Poles removed from Danzig, Stutthof was later used as a so-called “work education camp” where forced laborers, primarily Polish and Soviet citizens, were sent to serve sentences and often died.

From mid-1944, tens of thousands of Jews from ghettos in the Baltics and from Auschwitz filled the camp, along with thousands of Polish civilians swept up in the brutal Nazi suppression of the Warsaw uprising.

Others incarcerated there included political prisoners, accused criminals, people suspected of homosexual activity and Jehovah’s Witnesses. More than 60,000 people were killed at the camp.

United States’ Export of White Supremacy After Seizing Control of the Hawaiian Islands in 1898

To mention white supremacy in the Hawaiian Islands for some is a bit strange because it does not appear that white people are in control. Their control, however, was cemented after the United States illegally overthrew the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom on January 17, 1893. This control lasted until 1959, where former laborers in the sugar and pineapple plantations, after returning from the Second World War, seized political control and pushed for the Hawaiian Islands to be the 50th State of the American Union where the governor would now be an elected position.

The leadership of the insurgency, calling themselves the provisional government, were white, which included Sanford Dole, William O. Smith and Lorrin Thurston. These insurgents, while white by ethnicity, were Hawaiian subjects by nationality and not American citizens. From 1900 to 1959, the leadership of the so-called Territory of Hawai‘i was appointed by the President of the United States. There were only white governors during this period. As a State of Hawai‘i, the former plantation workers would control the voting bloc under American law.

As a minority of the population, the insurgents of 1893 aligned themselves with Americans to entice the United States to annex the Hawaiian Islands after the government was overthrown. By aligning themselves with American politics, they also aligned themselves with American culture—white supremacy. According to Tom Coffman in his book Nation Within—The History of the American Occupation of the Hawai‘i, the insurgents attended higher education in the United States and it is there that they learned what was not experienced in the Hawaiian Kingdom, which is the so-called supremacy of the white race.

Despite the insurgents’ propaganda of lies, their rhetoric, however, was fueled, at the time, by American politics of race relations and the superiority of the Aryan (Teutonic) race over all others. Coffman addresses this by asking what “had Lorrin Thurston learned at Columbia, and what had Sanford Dole learned from his journey up the Kennebec River?” He answered, “the missionary descendants—already so prepared to believe in the superiority of their knowledge and position—were being influenced by American culture and American public life to take over direct control of Hawai‘i.” Between 1840 and 1887, Coffman explains “a systemic theory of white supremacy had been developed that came to be described in the intellectual history of America as Social Darwinism. The keystone of Social Darwinism was the teaching of white supremacy.”

While their physical strength was miniscule in the Hawaiian Kingdom, their arrogance could not be underestimated. The officers of the Hawaiian Patriotic League, in a memorial to President Grover Cleveland dated December 27, 1893, succinctly explained:

Last January, a political crime was committed, not only against the legitimate Sovereign of the Hawaiian Kingdom, but also against the whole Hawaiian nation, a nation who, for the past sixty years, had enjoyed free and happy constitutional self-government. This was done by a coup de main of U.S. Minister Stevens, in collusion with a cabal of conspirators, mainly faithless sons of missionaries and local politicians angered by continuous political defeat, who, as a revenge for being a hopeless minority in the country, resolved to “rule or ruin” through foreign help.

After Cleveland failed to restore Queen Lili‘uokalani under an executive agreement of December 18, 1893, the insurgents became emboldened. Prior to changing the name of the insurgency from the provisional government to the Republic of Hawai‘i in 1894, this minority of people needed to stay in control until a new president entered office after President Cleveland. That President was William McKinley who was open to annexing the Hawaiian Islands.

Professor John Burgess, a political scientist at Columbia University in 1893, was an academic who openly subscribed to white superiority through “Teutonic supremacy in the art of government.” According to Burgess, Teutonic governance was exemplified by “northern Europe and the United States,” but the Hawaiian Kingdom government, led by aboriginal Hawaiians, was not included in this theory because the Polynesian race was not Teutonic. The insurgents, although being Hawaiian subjects and resident aliens, were representative of the so-called Teutonic race. According to Castle, Burgess firmly believed that the “exercise of political right was contingent upon innate political intelligence, and of this intelligence the Teutons were the only qualified judges.”

To the Hawaiian, Burgess’ belief of Teutonic political intelligence would be absurd because Hawai‘i’s constitutional monarchy predated that of Teutonic Prussia. As German political scientist Marquardt pointed out in 2009, “Hawai‘i as early as 1839, preceding even Prussia, transferred European constitutionalism, in the pattern of the constitutional monarchy, into the Austronesian-speaking world of Oceania.” Nevertheless, as facts were not the driving force, the situation was being driven by American racist rhetoric.

Knowing of Burgess’ agenda of promoting white, in particular, Teutonic—Aryan superiority in governance, Dole was in communication with Burgess a year after the overthrow of the Hawaiian government. He wanted to draft a constitution for the insurgency that would change its name from the provisional government to the so-called Republic of Hawai‘i on July 3, 1894. Concerned of the political power wielded by the aboriginal Hawaiian, which was the majority of the Hawaiian national population, the insurgents entertained Jim Crow laws from the American State of Mississippi. In a letter sent from Washington, D.C., on November 4, 1893, by W.D. Alexander, former Surveyor-General of the Hawaiian Kingdom, to Sanford Dole, he wrote, “I enclose extracts from the present Constitution of Mississippi, which is said to have the effect of disfranchising a majority of the negroes of that state.” The Republic of Hawai‘i was in name only. It was not, by definition, a true Republic where the affairs of government were open and transparent.

In his first letter, Dole was merely asking for clarity on a section of Burgess’ book Political Science and Comparative Constitutional Law. Before Burgess responded, Dole was able to send a follow up letter that reveals his intent. In his second letter, Dole requests information from Burgess on his constitutional plan whereby “government can be kept out of the control of the irresponsible element.” He stated that there “are many natives and Portuguese who had had the vote hitherto, who are comparatively ignorant of the principles of government, and whose vote from its numerical strength as well as from the ignorance referred to will be a menace to good government.” Burgess, in his response to Dole, was aware that the so-called Teutonic population in Hawai‘i was a very small minority at 5,000, which he said comprised of “Americans, English, Germans and Scandinavians” out of “a population of nearly 100,000.” After offering suggestions in the organizing of government, he ends his letter by recommending that “only Teutons [be appointed] to military office.”

When Coffman mentions the Dole-Burgess letters, he implies that the Hawaiian Kingdom did not have the same race relations as the United States. According to Dominguez, there was “very little overlap with Anglo-American” race relations. She found that there were no “institutional practices [that] promoted social, reproductive, or civic exclusivity on anything resembling racial terms before the American period.” In comparing the two countries she stated that unlike “the extensive differentiating and disempowering laws put in place throughout the nineteenth century in numerous parts of the U.S. mainland, no parallels—customary or legislated—seem to have existed in the [Hawaiian Kingdom].” Dominguez admits that with “all the recent, welcomed publishing flurry on the social construction of whiteness and blackness and the sociohistorical shaping of racial categories…, there are usually at best only hints of the possible—but very real—unthinkability of ‘race.’”

That very real “unthinkability of race” was the Hawaiian Kingdom. Kauai explains that the “multi-ethnic dimensions of the Hawaiian citizenry coupled by the strong voice and participation of the aboriginal population in government played a prominent role in constraining racial hierarchy and the emergence of a legal system that promoted white supremacy.”

After unilaterally annexing the Hawaiian Islands by enacting an American law in the Congress called a joint resolution in 1898, and not by a treaty of cession, the denationalization through Americanization was firmly planted in the educational system throughout the Hawaiian Islands. To do this, the educational system established by the Hawaiian Kingdom would be weaponized. Thus began the brainwashing of the school children that obliterated the national consciousness of their country, the Hawaiian Kingdom, and imposed the English language over the Hawaiian language.

In 1919, the Allied Powers of the First World War concluded that “attempts to denationalize the inhabitants of occupied territory” is a war crime. In their report, the Allied Powers charged that Bulgaria imposed their national characteristics on the Serbian population; banned the Serbian language; people were beaten for saying “Good morning” in Serbian; and the Serbian population forced to be present at Bulgarian national ceremonies.

The United Nations War Crimes Commission established after the Second World War to prosecute war criminals stated:

Attempts of this nature were recognized as a war crime in view of the German policy in territories annexed by Germany in 1914”

At that time, as during the war of 1939-1945, inhabitants of an occupied territory were subjected to measures intended to deprive them of their national characteristics and to make the land and population affected a German province

Since 1898, the United States did exactly what Bulgaria and Germany did during the First and Second World Wars. Where the military occupations of the First and Second World Wars would only last 4 to 6 years, the policy of denationalization through Americanizatoin would last over a century unfettered. Within three generations, the national consciousness of the Hawaiian Kingdom was obliterated.

Under the ownership of the infamous insurgent Lorrin Thurston, the Pacific Commercial Advertiser newspaper served as the insurgents’ propaganda machine. In 1904, Walter G. Smith, an American from San Francisco, became its editor in chief. In the September 8, 1905, edition, he summed up the effect and purpose of weaponizing the educational system under the heading “The American Way.”

It would have been proper yesterday in the Advertiser’s discussion of schools to admit the success which the High School has had in making itself acceptable to white parents. By gradually raising the standard of knowledge of English the High School has so far changed its color that, during the past year seventy-three per cent. were Caucasians. It is not so many years ago that more than seventy-three per cent. were non-Caucasians. At the present rate of progress it will not be long before the High School will have its student body as thoroughly Americanized in blood as it long has been in instruction.

The idea of having mixed schools were the mixture is of various social and political conditions is wholly American; but not so mixed schools where the American youth is submerged by the youth of alien races. On the mainland the Polacks, the Russian Jews, the Huns and the negroes are, as far as practicable, kept in schools of their own, with the teaching in English; and only where the alien breeds are few, as in the country, are they permitted to mingle with white pupils. In the South, where Americans of the purest descent live, there are no mixed schools for whites and negroes; and wherever color or race is an issue of moment, the American way is defined through segregation. Only a few fanatics or vote-hunters care to lower the standard of the white child for the sake of raising that of the black or yellow child.

One great and potent duty of our higher schools, public and private, is to conserve the domination here of Anglo-Saxon ideas and institutions; and this means control by white men. We have no faith in any attempt to make Americans of Asiatics. There are too many obstacles of temperament and even of patriotism in the way. The main thing is to see that our white children when they grow up, are not to be differentiated from the typical Americans of the mainland, having the same standards, the same ideals and the same objects, none of them tempered by the creeds or customs of decaying or undeveloped or pagan races.

From a country, whose literacy rate was second to Scotland and New England, aboriginal Hawaiian school children were forced to enter the labor force after receiving an eighth grade education. If you were white, you were allowed to attend High School. In an article published by New York’s Harper’s Weekly magazine in 1907, the reporter, William Inglis, visited three schools that were established during the Kingdom – Ka‘iulani and Ka‘ahumanu public schools that went to the eighth grade, and Honolulu High School. At Kai‘iulani, he reported:

Out upon the lawn marched the children, two by two, just as precise and orderly as you can find them at home. With the ease that comes of long practice the classes marched and counter -marched until all were drawn up in a compact array facing a large American flag that was dancing in the northeast trade-wind forty feet above their heads. Surely this was the most curious, most diverse regiment ever drawn up under that banner – tiny Hawaiians, Americans, Britons, Germans, Portuguese, Scandinavians, Japanese, Chinese, Porto-Ricans, and Heaven knows what else.

“Attention!” Mrs. Fraser commanded.

The little regiment stood fast, arms at sides, shoulders back, chests out, heads up, and every eye fixed upon the red, white, and blue emblem that waved protectingly over them.

“Salute!” was the principal’s next command.

Every right hand was raised, forefinger extended, and the six hundred and fourteen fresh, childish voices chanted as one voice:

“We give our head and our hearts to God and our Country! One Country! One Language! One Flag!”

Harper’s Weekly, “Hawaii’s Lesson to Headstrong California: How the Island territory has resolved the problem of dealing with its four thousand Japanese Public-School children,” Feb. 16, 1907.

At Honolulu High School, before the name was changed to President William McKinley High School in 1907 after the story was published, the reporter stated:

Professor M.M. Scott, the principal of the high school, was kind enough to call all the pupils, who were not taking examinations, out on the front steps of the building, where the visitor could inspect them in the sunshine. The change in the color scheme from that of the schools below was astounding. Below were all the hues of the human spectrum, with brown and yellow predominating; here the tone was clearly white.

Symposium on War Crimes Committed in the Hawaiian Islands by the United States

Watch the Hawaiian Society of Law & Politics‘ Symposium showcasing the “Royal Commission of Inquiry – Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom” held at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa on February 11, 2023. This half-day symposium, in collaboration with the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the National Lawyers Guild, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Native Hawaiian Student Services, and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Education, featured experts in the fields of international law, international relations, international criminal law and war crimes, and Hawaiian Kingdom law on the topic of the American occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since January 17, 1893. Part 2 of the presentation ends with a celebration of Aloha ʻĀina (Hawaiian patriotism) through mele (song) by well known Hawaiian entertainers and musicians.

The presentations stem from the three presenters’ articles published in the Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics: Professor William Schabas, “Legal Opinion on War Crimes Related to the United States Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom since 17 January 1893;” Professor Federico Lenzerini, “Legal Opinion on the Authority of the Council of Regency of the Hawaiian Kingdom;” and Dr. David Keanu Sai, “The Royal Commission of Inquiry.”