Tuesday, 13 September 2011

International Criminal Court asked to investigate Pope over child abuse cover-up

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Will Pope Benedict XVI face prosecution before the ICC?
The New York Times reports that victims of abuse by Catholic priests have today formally asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Pope Benedict XVI and leading cardinals Tarcisio Bertone, Angelo Sodano and William Levada for crimes against humanity. The victims, represented by the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests and the Center for Constitutional Rights, have filed an 80 page complaint with the ICC, accusing the Pope and Vatican officials of abetting and covering up abuse, with lawyer Pamela Spees explaining that the international court is the most appropriate forum for dealing with the allegations:
“National jurisdictions can’t really get their arms around this. Prosecuting individual instances of child molestation or sexual assault has not gotten at the larger systemic problem here. Accountability is the goal, and the I.C.C. makes the most sense, given that it’s a global problem.”
However, experts in international law have pointed out that, while the complaint will help to raise awareness of the ongoing fight for justice for those abused by priests, it is unlikely that the ICC will conclude that the issue falls within its jurisdiction.
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