The United Nations Commission for the Investigation of War Crimes (later renamed United War Crime Commission) was formed in 1943, following a declaration of the need for such by the three Allied superpowers, US, Britain and Russia.
It was set up to primarily: (1) investigate and record the evidence of war crimes, identifying where possible the individuals responsible and (2) report to the Governments concerned cases in which it appeared that adequate evidence might be expected to be forthcoming. (UNWCC History)
The UN War Crimes Commission was operational between 1943 and 1948 and played a vital role in preparation for the war crimes trials that followed the Second World War. (UN)
The International Criminal Court (ICC), at The Hague, Netherlands and formed as result of the Rome Statute in 1998, has jurisdiction over four main crimes: (1) genocide (specific intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group) …
… (2) crimes against humanity (large-scale attack against any civilian population); (3) grave breaches of the Geneva conventions (in the context of armed conflict); and (4) the crime of aggression (use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, integrity or independence of another State.) (ICC)
The ICC, not a United Nations organization, does not have its own police force or enforcement body; it relies on cooperation with countries worldwide for support.
The US was a party to the Rome Statute, including the ICC; however, in a communication received on May 6, 2002, the US informed the Secretary-General, “that the United States does not intend to become a party to the treaty. Accordingly, the United States has no legal obligations arising from its signature on December 31, 2000.” (State Department)
The matter of war crime claims related to Hawai’i were recently addressed by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court – the Hawaii Supreme Court Publicly Censures Attorney for ‘War Crimes’ Accusations.
A unanimous Order of the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court, issued on May 1, 2017, publicly censured a local attorney for making “with reckless disregard as to the truth or falsity of the allegation” accusations that a Judge committed “war crimes under international Conventions”.
In the Order, the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court noted, “the allegations for which Respondent … faces discipline do not serve any discernible purpose within the underlying litigation and, hence, cannot be characterized as mere ‘zealous representation’ of the Respondent’s clients.”
“Nor do the allegations bear a rational relationship to any previous opinions of this or other courts of the State and, hence, are not good faith arguments for an extension of such precedent. … “
“In short, we conclude that the allegations serve no other purpose but to harass the presiding Judge by threatening him with dire consequences for his previous and subsequent rulings in the litigation.”
The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court unanimously concluded that the attorney’s allegations “‘imply a false assertion of fact’” which could “reasonably be interpreted as stating actual facts about their target” which are not true, and the charge of war criminal does, by its plain language, charge the Judge with “commission of a criminal offense.””
“[W]e conclude, by clear and convincing evidence, that the record supports the violations identified by the Disciplinary Board: specifically, that, on July 13, 2012, by filing the Notice of Protest and its attachments in the Third Circuit litigation presided over by the Judge in question …”
“… Respondent …, with reckless disregard as to the truth or falsity of the allegation, accused the presiding Judge of committing war crimes under international Conventions and thereby filed a frivolous document that served no legal or practical purpose …”
“… in violation of Rule 3.1 of the Hawai’i Rules of Professional Conduct (HRPC) (1994), harassed and embarrassed the Judge, in violation of HRPC Rule 3.5(b), engaged in conduct reasonably likely to disrupt the tribunal – and which did disrupt the tribunal – in violation of HRPC Rule 3.5(c), and made statements with reckless disregard as to their truth or falsity concerning the integrity of the Judge, in violation of HRPC Rule 8.2.”
“In sum, in the words of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, (Respondent’s) accusations ‘erode public confidence without serving to publicize problems that justifiably deserve attention’ … As such, Respondent’s allegations are not protected speech.”
“We further conclude these allegations were made with a reckless disregard to their truth or falsity, and were not assertions a reasonable attorney, considered in light of all his professional functions, would make in the same or similar circumstances.” (SCAD-16-0000522; Hawaiʻi Supreme Court, May 1, 2017)
The Intermediate Court of Appeals had similar language about the Kingdom claims. They note, “Our appellate courts have repeatedly held that claims involving the applicability of the Kingdom of Hawai’i laws are without merit.”
They cite the Hawai‘i Supreme Court ruling in ‘State v. Kaulia’, noting, “Kaulia appears to argue that he is immune from the court’s jurisdiction because of the legitimacy of the Kingdom government. In that regard, we reaffirm that ‘[w]hatever may be said regarding the lawfulness’ of its origins, ‘the State of Hawai‘i . . . is now a lawful government.’” (CAAP-12-0000144 and others)
In the Kauila case, Kaulia claimed to be a “foreign national to USA and State of Hawaii as a subject of the Kingdom of Hawaii.” The Hawai‘i Supreme Court noted, “Individuals claiming to be citizens of the Kingdom and not of the State are not exempt from application of the State’s laws.”
Adding, “Pursuant to HRS § 701-106 (1993),12 ‘the [S]tate’s criminal jurisdiction encompasses all areas within the territorial boundaries of the State of Hawai‘i.’ … The State charged Kaulia based on his conduct in Kona, County and State of Hawai`i. Thus Kaulia is subject to the State’s criminal jurisdiction in this case.”