Abuse victims accuse pope, Vatican officials of crimes against humanity
Pope Benedict XVI appears at a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in Plebiscito square in Ancona, Italy, on Sunday.
September 13th, 2011
07:27 AM ET

Abuse victims accuse pope, Vatican officials of crimes against humanity

[Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET] Victims of abuse by Catholic priests asked the International Criminal Court to charge Pope Benedict XVI and other top Vatican officials with crimes against humanity, a victims' group announced Tuesday.

The pope and other church leaders "tolerate and enable the systematic and widespread concealing of rape and child sex crimes throughout the world," said the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and the Center for Constitutional Rights in a joint statement.

They filed more than 20,000 pages of documents with the international court in the Netherlands to support their charges, they said.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told CNN he was aware of the filing but had no comment.

The International Criminal Court did not immediately respond to a CNN question about whether it believed it had jurisdiction to prosecute the pope.

But Barbara Dorris, the president of SNAP, said it was the natural venue for the case.

"We are convinced this is the proper jurisdiction," she told CNN. "Who else can investigate violent crimes of a global magnitude? The ICC was created to deal with widespread systematic violent crimes against humanity."

The executive director of the International Bar Association, on the other hand, said it was unlikely the international court would find there was evidence of crimes against humanity.

"This requires a government policy, a plan, a widespread and systematic attack against a civilian population," Mark Ellis said.

"Not to suggest that victims were not harmed, but to meet the level of crimes against humanity you really have to show that there is a policy or a plan to initiate this," he said.

People can be held responsible for crimes if they knew - or should have known - they were occurring, Ellis said.

But the blind eye victims accuse the Catholic Church of turning to abuse of children by priests does not rise to the level of crimes against humanity, he suggested.

"They are crimes and they are serious, but within the jurisdiction of the ICC you have to be very specific. I don't see that you would be able to tick the boxes necessary" to bring a prosecution, he predicted.

That the defendant is the pope - along with three senior cardinals - also raises "jurisdictional hurdles," he said.

But simply filing the request will force the prosecutor to look at the case, Ellis said.

It "might be beneficial to the plaintiffs to force the court to respond," he said, saying the filing was more than just a publicity stunt.

"It raises the profile of these issues," he said.

In addition to the pope, SNAP and the CCF want prosecutions of Cardinal William Levada, the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State; and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Dean of the College of Cardinals.

 

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  1. mike from iowa

    How ironic that Catholic Holy People routinely abuse boys and Muslim Middle-eastern Holy People routinely abuse boys.

    Religion enables hypocrasy and brings out the very worst in people. Religion attracts the most insance, dysfunctional people. Religion is for war-mongers, criminals and their retarded followers. Especially the Abraham followers. Just read their bibles, their God stories are all about violence, murder, wards, human sacrificing. God, go away, enough already.

    September 13, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • judy1064

      Why are all Christians painted with such a broad brush? Religion isn't evil. PEOPLE are evil, and they use religion, government, and what ever else they can to hide their evil or to achieve their goals. Religion isn't evil, but you'll find people (good and bad) EVERYWHERE. They're your neighbors – nobody says neighborhoods in general are evil. They're teachers – schools I guess are evil. They're doctors, nurses, etc. – healthcare is obviously evil. And bad people hide in the churches too – EVIL!

      September 13, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • wilbur

      Why are Christians "painted with a broad brush?"....same reason Muslims are. Same reason marijuana users are. Always the same reason: to DEFAME. Once publically defamed, persecution and prosecution is easier. Way I see it: Christianity really is the root of all evil on the planet Earth. Once that Religion of Homicide is gone, the world will be livable again.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. lynseypug

    The Pope should be sharing a cell with Warren Jeffs.

    September 13, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • wilbur

      A Capitalist Alternative: Convert the entire Catholic Church into a B-rothel for Gay People. Have a voluntary donation-based system. (that is what it already is, could as well make it official so they can advertise).

      September 13, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. LovinFreedom

    This is one of the MANY reasons why I walked away from the catholic church over a year ago. I could not sit in that pew for one more Sunday feeling like my presence was supporting the cover up of abused children. IMO the catholic church rules its members with fear and manipulation. I have heard many catholics who claim to be the "one true religion" and their feeling of superiority is very disturbing. More catholics NEED to take a stand! Maybe a National Day of Not Showing Up, emptying the pews would speak volumes. Especially if all those catholics spent their Sunday at a different church. The leaders of the catholic church would be mortified! But, no more mortified than those of us who are disgusted by their actions.

    September 13, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. gg

    gjgdf

    September 13, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • mike from iowa

      giggidee giggity?

      September 13, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. TIM

    While most of the world's leaders consider themselves Christians, this will never stop. If anyone other than a priest is accused of child molestation, they tried in court and usually sentenced to prison. Yet, when a priest does it, they have to attend some counseling and get relocated to a different church. The only reason most people stand for it is because they are Christians and they will ignore anything that contradicts their beliefs. It reminds me of Wrestling when Vince MacMahon announced Wresting was fake. All the rednecks couldn't handle that it was really fake so they just pretended that MacMahon never made that announcement and continue believing Wrestling is real. If you do any research on the matter, you will find that the bible (which Christianity is based off of) was created by Roman Emporeror Constantine and the leaders of the Church at that time. They alone chose what to include and what to leave out of the bible. This is what you base your religion off of!

    September 13, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Jugger

      This is inconceivable! A person posting on here that makes sense, has a decent grasp on their historical facts, doesn't rant like a lunatic/fanatic, and even gives an example of what they are explaining. Bravo, Tim.

      September 13, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • judy1064

      Why are all Christians painted with such a broad brush? I believe priests should be held accountable and punished for their crimes against children. I am deeply disturbed that they're not. I believe that God created the universe and I also believe in evolution – who am I to question God's methods? God is in a tree, and an ape, and everywhere. I don't narrowly define "his image" because I believe it is all his image. Religion isn't evil. PEOPLE are evil, and they use religion, government, and what ever else they can to hide their evil or to achieve their goals. Religion isn't evil, but you'll find people (good and bad) EVERYWHERE. They're your neighbors – nobody says neighborhoods in general are evil. They're teachers – schools I guess are evil. They're doctors, nurses, etc. – healthcare is obviously evil. And bad people hide in the churches too – EVIL!

      September 13, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • wilbur

      You are right. The entire government of USA is basically a religious organization. The Courts and Departments of Human Services routinely kidnap children from young families (usually for very minor drug offenses) and place them in foster care where 75% of girls are then r aped by the foster father/brothers (google it, fact). 90% of "Amber Alerts" are actually daddys who cannot stand the thought of that so they take the child back. USA is most mentally ill nation ever. The Borgia Family was less cruel.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. trish ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hey, will you guys visit HelpFaye.ORG. a friend of mine with 2 babies is fighting for her life... Thanks

    September 13, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • wilbur

      Forget the darned babies. They take 9 months to make, usually by accident. Let them die, it is GOD'S WAY ! Why GOD insists on Abortion: Because mankind invented medicine which took away GOD's power. See? I can justify anything with that stupid religioous tripe. How can people be so re tarted as to believe in Christianity. Better just take that walmart ammo and cheap beer and off yourself now.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Hey guys

      Just Trish sending out another piece of scam.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. minister herman

    @mike Iam not sure what you say about saul and the cathelic church But mike Iam pretty sure saul didnt start any church seeing as though saul would stone christians to death And oh mike in certain parts of the world they still do Your beatin your drums about atheist doing good yep that stone feels real good mike Now for the cathelic church I cant say anything for them But when preist cant marry they are sitting themselves up for trouble with that Now mike you mite want to check out the letters in the new testament from paul Well paul is saul and hes showing you that you also can change and do good to Now one last thing If you find one bad egg thats rotton does that make the whole dozen bad Just give it a try you just might find you like it

    September 13, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. minister herman

    Geez i didnt mean to blow your party

    September 13, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. minister herman

    @ judy 1064 bravo bravo Very good post I thought that was me actually You must have some american indian in you

    September 13, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. Guest

    I think you have the name of the founder of SNAP wrong, FYI. Its Barbara Blaine http://www.snapnetwork.org/barbara_blaine

    September 13, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. gay Catholic

    We call the Pope "holy see" because God sees through the pope's eyes. God saw this coming and will defend catholic clergy who have been caught in the middle of long-term relationships with boys and men. God obviously condones sodomy and has raised-up pro-gay christian politicians who will defend our priests against these so-called crimes against boymanity.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  12. gay Catholic

    @minister herman...Paul didn't "change" as you say. Paul didn't "convert" from being an Pharisee who murdered christians for sport, he was literally "blinded by the light". Paul enjoyed dual citizenship both as an citizen of Israel and Rome. God chose paul for this very reason. Paul was called by God himself to become his "Apostle to the nations". Israel had been conquered and occupied by Rome, and God needed someone to carry Jesus's message even as far as Rome. Paul was chosen...not converted. Get a clue.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • wilbur

      g ay catholic....that is a redundancy. HEY, who knows or even cares what happened last year? You are talking about stuff that is very theoretical. All records of events long ago have been translated and re-translates so they no longer have particular meaning. Sort of like the employee policy manual of a large corporation. your stories can justify anything you want.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. JFWilder

    The Pope and all around him are irrelevant and no longer needed in an educated society. For the uneducated masses, let them continue to follow this farce and corrupt fairy tale regime who's only purpose is to promote self-sustainment of their tax exempt status and income from the sheep who continue to donate by the millions. If there were a god, he would have struck this pedofilic organization down eons ago.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • wilbur

      Since iphone/android/internet massing that started 5 years ago, no child in USA believes any of that religious nonsense. They laugh at Heck. Heaven is boring. Christianity, thankfully, will be near-dead within 15 years. The Crusades will finally end with the elimination of the greatest abomination ever in human history: Christianity as practiced.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. wilbur

    Christians are unique: they worship death and homicide. The Cross is the electric chair of its time. They worship that. The religion is so fearful they had to invent Santa Claus and Easter Bunny and steal the Christmas Tree from the Jews. It is and always has been abject behavior control. Most USA police forces have an "Office of Chaplain". USA=USSR+Templar

    September 13, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. wilbur

    The entire government of USA is basically a religious organization. The Courts and Departments of Human Services routinely kidnap children from young families (usually for very minor drug offenses) and place them in foster care where 75% of girls are then r aped by the foster father/brothers (google it, fact). 90% of "Amber Alerts" are actually daddys who cannot stand the thought of that. USA=behavior control. USA=USSR+Knights of Templar

    September 13, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
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