Under the criminal code of the United States of America, Title 18 U.S.C. §4, provides for the reporting of felonies to federal authorities, whether civil or military, as a duty and not a choice. According to Black’s Law Dictionary (1996), a duty is defined as an obligation “to conform to legal standard of reasonable conduct in light of apparent risk.” A person who fails to report a felony as soon as possible risks being fined or face up to three years in prison, which is a felony as well. In other words, failure to report a felony is a felony.
On September 17, 2014, Professor Williamson Chang, senior law professor at the University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law, reported the commission of war crimes to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, D.C. Professor Chang held a press conference on September 22, 2014 at the University of Hawai‘i in front of the William S. Richardson School of Law. Although American media in the United States and Hawai‘i were notified by press release of the press conference, none were present, and the press conference was covered by Kingdom Media Hawai‘i. The story was then picked up by ABC Australia news and radio and New Zealand’s radio The Wire. ABC Australia reported:
In his letter to the Attorney General, Professor Chang stated, “Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §4—Misprision of felony, I am legally obligated to report to you the knowledge I have about multiple felonies that prima facie have been and continue to be committed here in the Hawaiian Islands. I have been made aware of these felonies through the memorandum by political scientist David Keanu Sai, Ph.D., who was contracted by the State of Hawai‘i Office of Hawaiian Affairs, entitled Memorandum for Ka Pouhana, CEO of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs regarding Hawai‘i as an Independent State and the Impacts it has on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.” Professor Chang’s letter was endorsed with the signatures of seventeen other State of Hawai‘i officials and employees.
The U.S. Attorney General received Professor Chang’s reporting of war crimes on September 19, 2014 by FedEx courier under tracking number 8061 7191 0836.
“Further, as a State of Hawai‘i employee, I and other State officials and employees receive State monies that have been implicated as being gained through the commission of felonies, namely the war crime of pillaging,” stated Professor Chang. Under 18 U.S.C. §662, receiving stolen property is a felony punishable by a fine or up to three years in prison. Receiving stolen property has four elements that need to be met in order to be considered a crime: (1) the property must be received; (2) it must have been previously stolen; (3) the person receiving the property must know it was stolen; and (4) the receiver must intend to deprive the owner of his or her property.
Professor Chang’s reporting of war crimes, being felonies under 18 U.S.C. §2441, to the DOJ effectively placed a corresponding obligation upon the U.S. Attorney General to either initiate a criminal investigation into the reported felonies, or explicitly state that felonies have not been committed thereby removing the apparent risk of a fine or up to three years in prison under both §4—misprision of felony, and §662—receiving stolen property.
Professor Chang stated, “If your office’s response in two weeks is able to refute the evidence provided for in the Memo, then assuredly the felonies—war crimes—have not been committed. But if you office is not able to refute the evidence, then this is a matter for the U.S. Pacific Command, being the occupying power, and all State of Hawai‘i officials and employees, as well as I, are compelled to comply with Hawaiian Kingdom law and the law of occupation.” The U.S. Attorney General was requested to respond by October 3, 2014.
The U.S. Department of Justice has not responded to Professor Chang’s reporting within the requested time of two weeks, which expired yesterday. The DOJ’s silence on the reporting is acquiescence or acknowledgment that war crimes have and continue to be committed in Hawai‘i. According to Black’s Law Dictionary (1996), acquiescence is “equivalent to assent inferred from silence with knowledge or from encouragement and presupposes knowledge and assent.” Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (1984) also defines acquiescence as “a silent appearance of consent.” Specifically, the silence of the DOJ admits there is evidence of the commission of war crimes and that it “is a matter for the U.S. Pacific Command, being the occupying power,” and not the DOJ.
In order to refute Professor Chang’s reporting that the State of Hawai‘i government committed war crimes of pillaging by illegally appropriating monies from the inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands, would be for the DOJ to show evidence that the United States is the successor to the Hawaiian Kingdom under international law and that the State of Hawai‘i, being an extension of the United States government, is a lawful government and legally authorized to collect taxes.
In Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom arbitral award, the international tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration stated “in the nineteenth century the Hawaiian Kingdom existed as an independent State recognized as such by the United States of America, the United Kingdom and various other States, including by exchanges of diplomatic or consular representatives and the conclusion of treaties.” This acknowledgment of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s status as a State under international law by an international tribunal is called “presumptive evidence,” which Black’s Law Dictionary (1996) defines as “evidence which must be received and treated as true and sufficient until and unless rebutted by other evidence.”
According to Professor James Crawford, in his book The Creation of States in International Law (2006), p. 34, “There is a strong presumption that the State continues to exist, with its rights and obligations, despite revolutionary changes in government, or despite a period in which there is no, or no effective, government. Belligerent occupation does not affect the continuity of the State, even where there exists no government claiming to represent the occupied State.” Professor Crawford is the leading expert in State sovereignty under international and he also served as President of the Arbitral Tribunal in the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom arbitration case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
The fundamental problem for the DOJ is that there is no treaty where the Hawaiian Kingdom ceded its sovereignty and territory to the United States. The only claim the United States has over the Hawaiian Islands is that the Congress says it annexed the Hawaiian Islands in 1898 and then later created the State of Hawai‘i government in 1959. It is undisputed that Congress has no effect beyond its borders, so the U.S. Congress could no more annex Hawai‘i and create a State of Hawai‘i government by enacting statutes, than it could annex Canada and create a State of Canada government by enacting statutes. There is no treaty, which is evidence under international law that would rebut the evidence of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s continued existence as an independent and sovereign State under international law. Without extinguishing the Hawaiian Kingdom under international law, the United States presence in the Hawaiian Islands is a situation of military occupation, which is regulated by the international laws of occupation and international humanitarian law.
As a federal agency of the United States government, the DOJ is limited to investigating the violation of federal criminal laws that occur within the territory of the United States. The DOJ does not have extra-territorial authority, and nor do federal statutes, which includes §2441. Since the DOJ acquiesced to the evidence that Hawai‘i is not a part of the territory of the United States as provided in Dr. Sai’s Memo for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which Professor Chang relied on for his reporting of felonies, the investigation of war crimes now falls upon the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command who is the occupying power in Hawai‘i.
§2441 states “Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime…shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.” According to the House Report 104-698 that accompanied the War Crimes Act of 1996 under the heading Current Prosecutability Under United States Law of Individuals for “Grave Breaches” of the Geneva Conventions and the Impact of H.R. 3680, “Military tribunals—or commissions—have been used widely by the United States from the Mexican-American War to the Civil War to World War II to prosecute criminals and to provide a system of justice in lands occupied by our armed forces.”
The House Report continued to state, “Military commissions were most recently used during and immediately following World War II to prosecute German and Japanese war criminals and to provide a legal system for occupied areas,” and that “American military commissions have generally prosecuted individuals whose acts were committed in lands occupied by our military.” Since the Hawaiian Kingdom has been under an illegal and prolonged occupation by the armed forces of the United States, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command is primarily responsible for the United States presence and its compliance with international law and the law of occupation.
According to U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10, section 498, “any person, whether a member of the armed forces or a civilian, who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment. Section 449, which has a more expansive definition of war crimes than 18 U.S.C. §2441, “the term ‘war crime’ is the technical expression for a violation of the law of war by any person or persons, military or civilian. Every violation of the law of war is a war crime.” And according to section 500, “Conspiracy, direct incitement, and attempts to commit, as well as complicity in the commission of war crimes are punishable.”
UPDATE: Professor Chang receives letter from Department of Justice regarding the reporting of war crimes.