(BIVN) – Hawai‘i County Councilwoman Jen Ruggles surprised her fellow councilmembers Tuesday, when she announced before a committee hearing that she “will be refraining from participating in the proposing and enacting of legislation” until county lawyers are able to assure her that she “is not incurring criminal liability under international humanitarian law and U.S. law.”
Ruggles read a statement at the start of the Hawai‘i County Council Agriculture, Water and Energy Sustainability Committee meeting held in Kona, in which she said she “had recently come to understand that she may be in violation of her oath of office to uphold the United States constitution and may be incurring criminal liability for war crimes under both U.S. federal law and international law.”
In her statement, Ruggles made reference to an email she says she and her fellow councilmembers received in June, in which the Hawaiian Kingdom acting Council of Regency informed her of several legal actions, including a memorandum authored by the United Nations Independent Expert under the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr. Alfred M. deZayas, in which he states his understanding of Hawai‘i as a “sovereign nation-state in continuity” which is “under a strange form of occupation by the United States resulting from an illegal military occupation and fradulent annexation.”
Ruggles has retained Stephen Laudig as legal counsel in order to communicate with the County Corporation Counsel on this matter. In a letter to Corporation Counsel Joseph Kamelamela, attorney Laudig stated:
Council member Ruggles has become aware of the history of the United States’ illegal occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom through, among other things, the research and publications of Dr. Keanu Sai; the Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom proceedings held under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, Netherlands; a memorandum, dated 15 February 2018 authored by United Nations Independent Expert, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr. Alfred deZayas’ which had been sent to and received by certain members of the State of Hawai‘i judiciary; and, a recent Petition for Writ of Mandamus, David Keanu Sai, as Chairman of the Council of Regency v. Donald Trump, as President of the United States, lodged with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on 15 June 2018. That petition addresses the failure of the United States to administer the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom under Article 43 of the 1907 Hague Regulations and Article 64 of the 1949 Geneva Convention.
“I took an oath where I swore to support and defend the U.S. Constitution, and the constitution states that treaties are the supreme law of the land,” Ruggles said in a later media release. “My current understanding is that the Hague and Geneva Conventions are international treaties ratified by the United States, and until our county attorney assures me I am not violating my oath of office, and not incurring criminal liability, I must refrain from enacting any further legislation. I am eagerly awaiting his response. In the meanwhile my constituents can be assured that I am still available to them, will continue to focus on our district and stand up for our disadvantaged populations.”
Through her attorney, Ruggles has formally requested the Office of Corporation Counsel “to assure her that she is not incurring criminal liability under international humanitarian law and United States Federal law as a Council member” for, as a Ruggles media release lists:
- Participating in legislation of the Hawai‘i County Council that would appear to be in violation of Article 43 of the Hague Regulations and Article 64 of the Geneva Convention where the laws of the Hawaiian Kingdom must be administered and not the laws of the United States;
- Being complicit in the collection of taxes from protected persons that stem from legislation enacted by the Hawai‘i County Council, which would appear to be in violation of Article 28 and 47 of the Hague Regulations and Article 33 of the Geneva Convention where pillaging is prohibited;
- Being complicit in the foreclosures of properties of protected persons for delinquent property taxes that stem from legislation enacted by the Hawai‘i County Council, which would appear to be in violation of Article 28 and 47 of the Hague Regulations and Article 33 of the Geneva Convention where pillaging is prohibited, as well as in violation of Article 46 of the Hague Regulations and Articles 50 and 53 of the Geneva Convention where private property cannot be confiscated; and
- Being complicit in the criminal prosecution of protected persons for committing misdemeanors or felonies that stem from legislation enacted by the Hawai‘i County Council, which would appear to be in violation of 147 of the Geneva Convention where protected persons are prohibited from being unlawfully confined, and cannot be denied a fair and regular trial by a tribunal with competent jurisdiction.
Ruggles decision stirred debate along the lines of parliamentary procedure Tuesday, when the routine approval of a nominee to the Game Management Advisory Commission came to a vote. The deputy county clerk reminded the council committee that abstention from a vote is not allowed under council rules.
“She cannot vote yes or no,” stated Hilo councilmember Aaron Chung. “If you’re gonna take the position that you’re gonna wait for something from Mr. Kamelamela, something formal, you shouldn’t even be participating.”
“All of these claims is coming from Hawaiian sovereignty groups,” said Kamelamela, who addressed the council during the discussion before the vote. “Over the years, they have been filing claims against many county officials and the way that we have been advising all the county officials is that, they’re not a recognized sovereign entity right now. And so, whatever they might say is in violation of international law or some other law that they claim that is still in existence – you know, it’s just invalid.”
“If you believe that you can’t even act here,” Kamelamela told Ruggles, “then… one option is for you to just leave.”
Ruggles, who withdrew her candidacy from the district 5 primary and whose term on the council is up in December, opted to leave the meeting. In her media release, Ruggles said, “I want it to be clear that this action, on my part should not be construed as a publicity stunt but is rather acting upon the advice of counsel given the awareness she has regarding alleged war crimes, and the awareness other State of Hawai‘i officials had and remained silent.” Ruggles added that she “is a firm believer in the rule of law and not the politics of power.”