The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) has recently uploaded a Case Repository of current cases and past cases that came before the international court. Listed as one of the past cases that came before the PCA was Lance Larsen v. The Hawaiian Kingdom. The international arbitration began on November 8, 1999 and ended February 5, 2001.
The PCA explicitly recognized the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State and the acting Government as its representative in arbitration proceedings instituted by a Hawaiian subject, Lance Larsen. If the Hawaiian Kingdom did not exist today as a State under international law, and there was no lawful government representing the Hawaiian Kingdom, the case would have never been accepted by the PCA. This is also recognition that the Hawaiian Kingdom was never annexed by the United States, but rather occupied since the Spanish-American War in 1898.
The international court’s explicit recognition of the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State under international law and the acting Government is definitive and removes all doubt of Hawai‘i legal status under international law.
The tribunal concluded in its arbitral award that in order for Lance Larsen to maintain his suit against the acting Government, which he alleged was “in continual violation of its 1849 Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation with the United States of America, and in violation of the principles of international laid down in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969, by allowing the unlawful imposition of American municipal laws over claimant’s person within the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom,” he needed the participation of the United States as an indispensable third party because it was the United States that allegedly violated his rights and not the Hawaiian Kingdom. His claim was that the Hawaiian Kingdom was negligent for allowing the imposition of American laws in the Kingdom in violation of the treaties.
The arbitration tribunal was comprised of three highly respected experts in international law, and two the arbitrators, James Crawford and Christopher Greenwood were selected by the United Nations as judges on the ICJ. The United Nations selection is also recognition of the caliber of the arbitrators who served on the Tribunal in the Hawaiian arbitration.
Other international arbitration cases held at the PCA that was similar to the Hawaiian arbitration, being a dispute between a private entity and a State, include, Hulley Enterprises Limited vs. The Russian Federation (2005), Romak S.A. vs. The Republic of Uzbekistan (2006), and TCW, Inc. and Dominican Energy Holdings, L.P. vs. The Dominican Republic (2008).
The PCA was initially limited to arbitration between States, but has since evolved to include private parties against States. A dispute between private parties alone cannot access the PCA without the participation of a State. “Today the PCA provides services for the resolution of disputes involving various combinations of states, state entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties.” The United States was not only one of the signatory States to the 1899 Hague Convention, I, that established the international court, but it was also a party to arbitration cases at the PCA, The United States of America v. The United States of Mexico (1902), The United States of America vs. Venezuela (1909), Great Britain vs. The United States of America (1910), and The United States of America vs. The Netherlands (1925). The most recent arbitration at the PCA was The Republic of Ecuador vs. The United States of America (2011).
The PCA is only open to disputes involving international law, which is the reason why a dispute between private parties cannot access the international court. The United Nations Charter created the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1945 and it is housed in the Peace Palace together with the PCA. Unlike the PCA, the ICJ limits its access to disputes between States and not disputes between a private entity and the State.
The PCA was established in 1899 when States from around the world met in The Hague, Netherlands, in order to codify the laws and customs of war, which was already accepted as customary international law. It’s first treaty—Hague Convention, I, established a permanent court of arbitration to be housed at The Hague. “With the object of facilitating an immediate recourse to arbitration for international differences, which it has not been possible to settle by diplomacy, the Signatory Powers undertake to organize a permanent Court of Arbitration (Article 20).”