International Attorney: U.S. must leave Hawaii

Hawaii Tribune-Herald
Thursday, December 30, 2004

Attorney: U.S. must leave

International law expert says America has a duty to set Hawaii Islands free

Tribune-Herald staff writer

A professor of international law contends that the so-called Akaka Bill would strip Hawaiians of their right to self-determination.

He also says independence would be best achieved through international law.

[read the rest of the article...]

Speaking Wednesday afternoon at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Francis A. Boyle, who teaches at the University of Illinois, offered an ominous vision of the legislation that, as the bill states, would "provide a process for the recognition by the United States of the Native Hawaiian governing entity."

Accompanied by sovereignty activist Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele, Boyle was traveling on a two-day, five-speech tour around the state. Tuesday, he spoke on Oahu and Kauai. Wednesday, he spoke in Kailua-Kona, the UHH Theater and on Maui.

People should not be fooled by the phrase "governing entity," he said, adding that Arab states that do not recognize Israel refer to it as the "Zionist entity."

"Under the Akaka legislation, kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiians) are going to get an entity, not a government, not a state, just an entity, whatever that is," Boyle said. Sovereignty, he said, would not be determined by the Hawaiians as declared in the "Apology Bill" -- Congress' 1993 resolution apologizing for the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Instead, Boyle said the Akaka Bill would establish an "interim governing council" -- a far cry from an actual government. It would have no authority to enact laws or control land, and would be subject to federal jurisdiction.

"The United States federal government is setting up a process whereby it's telling you, the kanaka maoli, how you are going to give up your sovereignty, give up your land and give up your self-determination."

He offered instead an alternative to the Akaka Bill: arguing the case in an international court of law. Boyle said the United States made numerous treaties with the Hawaiian Kingdom in the 19th century, none of which has since been rescinded. Further, the Akaka bill and the Apology bill both recognize the Hawaiians have "never relinquished their claims" to sovereignty.

"They're trying to defeat and deny the right you had under international law, the right to self-determination, the right to reinstitution of these treaties, the right to the restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom by saying, 'This is it. This will be your exercise of sovereignty, your exercise of self-determination and nothing more. You do what we tell you to do.'"

"A state is built from the ground up, not the top down. Kanaka maoli have to provide health care, education, social welfare, language skills in your own language. Everything else for your own people and build your state from the bottom up."

Boyle compared this approach to that of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which he advised in the early 1990s. In lieu of government aid from Israel, the Palestinians have instead set up their own system of self-determination.

"The United States promised 'perpetual peace and amity' to the Hawaiian Kingdom," Boyle said, referring to an 1849 treaty. "That promise is still there. Even though the United States has not honored it, it is obligated to honor it." The Hawaiian Kingdom exists in international law and treaties, if not in practice, he said.

Boyle said international law requires four criteria for a functioning, sovereign state: a permanent population, a recognized territory, a functioning government and the capability to conduct international relations.

"As I see it what we need today is a functioning government, a provisional government of national unity for the Hawaiian Kingdom that is the alternative to Akaka," he said.

After the speech, audience members offered their assessment:

"It was good," Crandall Leialoha said. "I feel that he's extremely informed."

John Ota, a member of the group Kingdom of Hawaii, concurred:

"I think he was very straightforward, very direct and I believe that he really knew the insight of international law in his presentation," Ota said.

Peter Sur can be reached at

All rights reserved. Copyright © 2004 Hawaii Tribune Herald.

Posted: Sat - January 1, 2005 at 12:35 PM    
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Published On: Dec 27, 2005 10:13 PM
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