The Hawaiian Kingdom Arbitration Case and the Unsettled Question of the Hawaiian Kingdom's Claim to Continuity as an Independent State Under International Law
30 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2008
Date Written: October 23, 2008
This paper examines the Larsen v. the Hawaiian Kingdom Case before an arbitral tribunal established under auspice of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague (Netherlands). The case concerns a dispute between an American national resident of Hawaii as Claimant and the "Hawaiian Kingdom" as Respondent. At the heart of the dispute lies the question of the legality of the annexation of Hawaii by the United States in 1898 and the claim of the continuing existence of the Kingdom as an independent State in international law. The Arbitral Tribunal did not tackle any of these issues since it concluded that it did not have jurisdiction over the dispute submitted by the Parties.
The first section of this article will provide an overview of the historical context from which this claim arises (the annexation of Hawaii by the United States). The second section will make reference to the procedural background to the submission of this claim. The Award rendered by the Tribunal will be analyzed in details in the third section. The next section of this article will be dedicated to the post-Award developments which include the filing of a Complaint by the "Hawaiian Kingdom" against the United States before the United Nations Security Council, and a declaration of the "Hawaiian Kingdom" accepting the jurisdiction of the ICJ.
Finally, a few comments will be made on some of the interesting issues arising in the context of this arbitration. For instance, the flexible character of the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules and its applicability to non-contractual disputes between States and individuals; the question whether the requirement of a "dispute" between the Parties is of a general nature in international law; the characteristic of a dispute in international law; and finally the determination of what is a "necessary party" to a dispute in international law and whether this principle first developed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Monetary Gold Case is applicable in the context of international arbitration.
Keywords: Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom case, Hawaii, annexation, self-determination, necessary party
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