Synopsis   History "Lance Paul Larsen vs. the Hawaiian Kingdom"
Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague
News   Arbitral Log

In Kingdom supporters take case to world body Honolulu Star-Bulletin (1/3/2000) quoted John Van Dyke:

"The biggest problem is simply the passage of time and the fact that the U.S. has exercised sovereignty (over Hawaii) for more than 100 years," he said. That alone is enough to derail the kingdom argument, he said.


By David Keanu Sai

International law provides (5) five ways of acquiring territory. 1st, is Occupation by discovery; 2nd, is Accretion which is expansion of landed territory by natural means (i.e. volcanic lava); 3rd, is Cession, which is "voluntary" transfer of landed territory by a nation (i.e. Louisiana Purchase); 4th, is Conquest which is territory acquired by treaty of surrender (i.e. 1848 Treaty of Surrender by Mexico and the 1898 Treaty of Surrender by Spain); and finally, 5th, is Prescription which is through the passage of time sovereignty is acquired over another country's landed territory by that country's silence.

With the advent of revived historical facts of the Hawaiian Kingdom as an Independent State, and the failed attempts of annexation, the United States falls short of the first (4) four modes of acquisition. What is now being pursued is acquisition by elapsed time, which is also called "Prescription." Prescription is often referred to as "adverse possession" in domestic courts, except in an International Court, prescription can't be adverse or hostile but rather peaceable and without protest by the occupied Nation. A very good case on this subject is entitled "The Chamizal Tract" which was a Mixed International Arbitral Tribunal established to hear a dispute of newly acquired land by the United States against Mexico. This case took place in the early 1900's as a result of the United States claiming to acquire 600 additional acres in El Paso, Texas, as a result of the Rio Grande rivers natural movement into Mexican territory. The Rio Grande river was determined as a Boundary line between the two countries by International Treaties, and the 600 acres came to be known as the "Chamizal Tract." The U.S. was claiming "Prescription" as a basis of their title.

The Mixed Arbitral Tribunal rejected the United States' claim to Prescription because an existing international treaty between the two countries that deals with the boundary is a bar to any claim of prescription by one of the countries. It further stated that Prescription must be peaceful, and that the facts did show that the Mexican Government did lodge a diplomatic protest with the United States which removed the United States' claim of a peaceful acquisition. The aribitral tribunal further stated that any failure to continue the protests by the Mexican government or by its nationals which could result in retaliation by the United States could not be construed as to the loss of the international rights of Mexico or its nationals.

In another case of Prescription, which was just decided last month by the International Court of Justice at The Hague, was a case between the African countries of Botwana and Namibia. These two countries are just above South Africa. This case involved a territorial dispute over two islands. Namibia was claiming to own the two islands by Prescription or lapse of time, and Botswana denied it because there existed a Treaty of 1890 that places the two islands in the possession of Botswana. An excerpt of Botswana's written pleading counters Namibia's claim which stated that Prescription is the Complete Antithesis of the Application of a Valid Treaty.

"Whatever the persuasiveness or otherwise of the position of Namibia relating to the scope of the Special Agreement, it does not lack ambition. If the Namibian Government is correct, the Special Agreement authorises the Court to decide this case without any reference to the provisions of the Anglo-German Agreement. In such a scenario the following conditions would be present:

  1. The clearly expressed expectations of the Heads of State as recorded in the Kasane Communiqué and the Memorandum of Understanding would have been set aside.
  2. The preamble to the Special Agreement would have been ignored.
  3. The words "on the basis of the Anglo-German Treaty of 1st July 1890" in Article 1 of the Special Agreement would have been ignored completely.
  4. The words "and the rules and principles of international law" would have been treated as overriding the reference to the Anglo-German Agreement rather than as subsidiary to it.

The whole point of prescription is that it replaces the originally lawful status quo. It is the perfect antithesis of the application of a valid international agreement which, for boundary purposes, is what the Anglo-German Agreement consists of."

If Van Dyke were truly an international expert as he said, he would have at least known of these two well known international cases about the argument of "lapse of time." In the case of the Hawaiian Kingdom and its nationals, there are Treaties between ourselves and the United States which have never been terminated by consent of the two parties. Proving this point, a diplomatic protest asserting treaty violations by the United States was lodged by Queen Lili'uokalani on June 17, 1897 at the Department of State in Washington D.C. to counter the second attempt of annexation by the so-called Treaty of Annexation with the self proclaimed Republic of Hawai'i. It states, in part:

"Because said treaty (of annexation) ignores, not only all professions of perpetual amity and good faith made by the United States in former treaties with the sovereigns representing the Hawaiian people, but all treaties made by those sovereigns with other and friendly powers, and it is thereby in violation of international law."

Adding to this protest was the signature petitions of 38,554 signatures of Hawaiian nationals (subjects) and others who were against American encroachment upon the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

The "Prescription" or "lapse of time" argument is baseless because of the existence of International Treaties between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the United States, and protests that have been lodged in the U.S. State Dept. and the U.S. Congress. This proves that America's subsequent incursion into Hawaiian territory by the so-called Joint Resolution of Annexation and all subsequent Congressional acts was not peaceful. The final stand of State Apologists now say that the vote for statehood in 1959 was the final nail in the coffin, but this vote occurred amongst American citizens residing in the so-called Territory of Hawai'i and Hawaiians who believed they were American. The statehood vote was under the false assumption that Hawaii was a Territory of the United States. It wasn't.

The fact remains that the United States is illegally occupying the territory of the Hawaiian Kingdom. In the words of the United States Basic Field Manual on the Rules of Land Warfare, "it is immaterial whether the government established over an enemy's territory be called a military or civil government. Its character is the same and the source of its authority is the same. It is a government imposed by force, and the legality of its acts is determined by the laws of war."


Van Dyke's statement that "The biggest problem is simply the passage of time and the fact that the U.S. has exercised sovereignty (over Hawaii) for more than 100 years," is "...about as ridiculous as saying America still is a British holding."

Synopsis   History "Lance Paul Larsen vs. the Hawaiian Kingdom"
Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague
News   Arbitral Log