Hawaiian Kingdom - Royal Commission of Inquiry

Political History
System of Government
Constitution and Statutory Laws
National Symbols
International Treaties
Land System
U.S. Occupation
Government Re-established
International Proceedings
Royal Commission of Inquiry
Hawaiian Kingdom Bonds


Royal Commission of Inquiry

Royal Commission of Inquiry

Determined to hold to account individuals that have committed war crimes and human rights violations throughout the territorial jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Kingdom under this prolonged occupation by the United States, the Council of Regency, by Proclamation on April 17, 2019, established a Royal Commission of Inquiry 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."

In accordance with Hawaiian administrative precedence in addressing crises, the Royal Commission was established by "virtue of the prerogative of the Crown provisionally vested in [the Council of Regency] in accordance with Article 33 of the 1864 Constitution, and 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." His Excellency, Dr. David Keanu Sai, Ph.D., has been designated as Head of the Royal Commission, and Dr. Federico Lenzerini, Ph.D., as Deputy Head. Pursuant to Article 3 - Composition of the Royal Commission, the Head of the Royal Commission has been authorized to seek "recognized experts in various fields."

The Royal Commission has acquired legal opinions from the following experts in international law: on the subject of the continuity of the Hawaiian Kingdom under international law, Professor Matthew Craven from the University of London, SOAS, School of Law; on the subject of the elements of war crimes committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom since 1893, Professor William Schabas, Middlesex University London, School of Law; and on the subject of human rights violations in the Hawaiian Kingdom and the right of self-determination by the Hawaiian citizenry, Professor Federico Lenzerini, University of Siena, Italy, Department of Political and International Studies. These experts, to include the Head of the Royal Commission, are the authors of chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 of Part II of the Royal Commission's eBook - The Royal Commission of Inquiry: Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

According to Article 1(2), "The purpose of the Royal Commission shall be to investigate the consequences of the United States' belligerent occupation, including with regard to international law, humanitarian law and human rights, and the allegations of war crimes committed in that context. The geographical scope and time span of the investigation will be sufficiently broad and be determined by the head of the Royal Commission."

Article 1(3) provides, "The results of the investigation will be presented to the Council of Regency, the Contracting Powers of the 1907 Hague Convention, IV, respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, the Contracting Powers of the 1949 Geneva Convention, IV, relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, the Contracting Powers of the 2002 Rome Statute, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the National Lawyers Guild in the form of a report."

In Restatement (Third) of Foreign Relations Law of the United States, it recognizes that when "determining whether a rule has become international law, substantial weight is accorded to...the writing of scholars." According to Black's Law, 6th ed., United States courts have acknowledged that the "various Restatements have been a formidable force in shaping the disciplines of the law covered [and] they represent the fruit of the labor of the best legal minds in the diverse fields of law covered." The Restatement drew from Article 38(1)(d) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, which provides that "the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations [are] subsidiary means for the determination of rules of [international law]." These "writings include treatises and other writings of authors of standing." Professors Craven, Schabas, and Lenzerini are "authors of standing" and their legal opinions are "sources" of the rules of international law.

The Royal Commission will first provide Preliminary Reports on various subjects relative to its mandate, followed by periodic Reports of its investigation of war crimes that meet the constituent elements of mens rea and actus reus, and human rights violations.

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 Manoa on February 11, 2023. This half-day symposium, in collaboration with the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the National Lawyers Guild, the University of Hawai`i at Manoa Native Hawaiian Student Services, and the University of Hawai`i at Manoa 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 continues with the final presentation and ends with a celebration of Aloha `Aina (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.”