Only countries may be parties to World Court cases

I have a letter in the Maui News today. One I've been thinking of writing for a while and finally got around to it, in response to several letters that have been published in past months about filing land title affidavits in the ICJ...
Only countries may be parties to World Court cases

Based on my understanding of history and law, a compelling argument can be made that the Hawaiian kingdom still exists, and is under prolonged illegal occupation by my country, the United States.

I also support efforts to protect the interest of Hawaiian families in their land and to expose the truth about land titles in Hawaii. However, I question the potential role of the International Court of Justice (also known as the World Court) in such local land title cases.

The Handbook of the ICJ, which is available at its Web site, clearly states that "Only States may be parties to cases before the Court" and the Court will only decide disputes which are "submitted to it by States." (States in an international context means countries.)

The handbook says: "Hardly a day passes without the Registry receiving written or oral applications from private persons. However heart-rending, however well-founded, such applications may be, the ICJ is unable to entertain them and a standard reply is always sent: 'Under Article 34 of the Statute, only States may be parties in cases before the Court.'"

Additionally, the handbook says, "A case can only be submitted to the Court with the consent of the States concerned," and that "no sovereign State can be made a party in proceedings before the Court unless it has in some manner or other consented thereto." Unlike domestic courts that can compel parties to appear and enforce rulings regardless of parties' consent, the ICJ has no such jurisdiction.

For these reasons, my understanding is that the International Court of Justice is not the proper venue for filing local land title claims, and that, in spite of the best intentions of those who may do so, such action presents at best a false hope.

Scott Crawford

BTW, if I'm in some way missing something about this or not understanding how they're going about this, I'm open to being proven wrong. I do think there may be effective ways to utilize the ICJ, but I just don't see how filing individual land affidavits is going to get anywhere. I would be interested to see documents of both the filings that were sent and any responses that may have been received. If I am shown some substantial response from the Court or something else that would explain how these filings are effective, I'll gladly admit that I'm in error.

I also posted longer ICJ citations last month in response to an earlier letter.

Update 6/26: Petro Hoy, who I was referring to in my letter, has responded. Well, sort of. He just kind of reiterates points he has made before and is trying to say, it seems, that because of Hawaii's sovereign status (which I don't dispute) the ICJ is "accepting and negotiating on behalf of the rights of the kanaka maoli Hawaii," and that "All crown patent lands throughout the islands are fully registered for safekeeping in the ICJ." Which actually doesn't respond to my points at all. Only countries can submit cases to the Court. So are they filing individual RP claims as the kingdom government? And even if they were somehow able to get the Court to accept their filings as being officially on behalf of the kingdom government, how will they ever overcome the issue of consent of the parties? He doesn't address this at all. Show me some actual documents, responses from the Court other than Article 34 responses, that demonstrate that the situation is other than I have indicated. Otherwise these assertions are less than convincing.

Update 7/2: Another letter responding to mine, this one by George Joy. This one says that I demonstrate my "lack of knowledge of the World Court’s powers" even though the content of my letter was direct citations of World Court material stating its own power. Not my opinion. But he doesn't cite anything other than his own opinion to contradict me. He also says I am "ignorant of the fact that Ko Hawaii Pae Aina is a country that has never been overthrown" ignoring the first paragraph of my letter which states that I believe that "a compelling argument can be made that the Hawaiian kingdom still exists." He also defends the land title issues, ignoring my second paragraph in which I state that "I also support efforts to protect the interest of Hawaiian families in their land and to expose the truth about land titles in Hawaii." I guess we see what we want to see. He says I "will be educated on these facts soon." I'm always open to being educated. Show me the actual documents that were filed with the ICJ, and show me any responses that have been received. If I'm wrong, I'll be happy to admit it.

Posted: Thu - June 22, 2006 at 07:30 PM    
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Published On: Jul 03, 2006 06:26 PM
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