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. Godly Congress, christian Presidents

    For those of you who think that believeing in God is stupid, recall that your own President claims that God is leading him. Your own Congress prays before each and every session. You wimps only attack your fellow citizens who love Jesus. NEVER do you point-out that the man YOU voted for is stupid. Wimps all.

    September 13, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jazzzzzzz

    I just caugt up with an old friend last night from Floridia where her and her husband have moved. he is a retired Cop from Upstate and she a mother of 7.
    They now run a (home) for run aways, and abused children, which is done through their church. Under the care and loving guidence of these two, the children have improved, yet we all know that those who have been been extremely abused will carry those scares for the rest of their lives.
    It is so good to know that there is some good in this world doing Gods work.
    And not all churches or all priest are petos, but we need to keep a vigilent eye on those who are the most evil of all ppl in this world which is being ruled over by Satan at this time.

    September 13, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jazzzzzzz

    I would also like to say that who ever
    brings to light the plight of those children effected by the horrors of child abuse, or
    is in the *field* caring for these children,
    has my deepest respect!
    AGAPE love to all those who carry our children to justice

    September 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. America has been overran by boy stalkers

    And that's just the ones we have registered. Only one in 72 American shoplifters get caught. Get it?

    September 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jazzzzzzz

    Yes,
    Translation: we NEED to place this on our list as I'm sure God is, in 2nd, only to all people repenting and coming God.
    2nd on the list should be
    INVADING THE PETOS, CHILD ABUSERS, ECT
    like we have in the MIDDLE EAST
    get the picture I'm presenting ? ppl

    September 13, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jazzzzzzz

    PARENTS
    TEACHERS
    LAW ENFORCEMENT
    ALL WHO ARE TRULY GOD FEARING NEED TO COME TOGETHER AND FIGHT THIS WAR IN DEFENSE OF OUR CHILDREN
    WHO *WILL* GROW UP ONE DAY TO BECOME THE AFORMETIONED.
    THIS IS OUR FUTURE SOCIETY , THESE BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN
    IT HAPPENS MORE THAN YOU THINK
    DON'T WHAT TILL ITS YOUR CHILD
    TAKE ACTION AS I HAVE IN THE PAST OR THOSE EFFECTED BY THIS HEINESS CRIME

    September 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. America has been overran by boy stalkers

    Jesus would not have said that he was going to "bring to ruin those ruining this earth" if he thought that mankind could solve his own problems. Their would be no need for the end of this old world full of ungodly people if Jesus were behind mankinds efforts to bring peace. Who would help fix something that they were going to destroy themselves anyway?

    September 13, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jazzzzzzz

    What I'm saying is
    Jesus" wuld ask us to place this second on our list of priorties to fight against
    please try and see what I'm saying
    it's said with love care for all those effected

    September 13, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. frank

    Wow. Take a noble cause and turn it whacko . Are they taking tips from PETA?

    September 13, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bible student

    "Do NOT think that I have come to bring PEACE to this world. I come with a SWORD ! For I have come to set a [believing] man against his own [non-believing] father, a daughter against her very own mother...a man's enemies will be those of his own family."-Jesus, as recorded by Matthew 10:34- // Jesus is coming with a SWORD, not a fig leaf. peace on Earth is reserved for men of good wil, not war-mongers and those who support them. These people live by the sword, and shall be die by the sword in Jesus' hand.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jazzzzzzz

    Did you see the words FIGHT AGAINST the evils of this world in my last post
    that is the same thing I'm saying that your saying
    FIGHT AGAINST THE DEVIL'S SONS WHO WISH TO DO HIS WORK
    was that is John, yes chapter 8:44 yes?

    September 13, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jazzzzzzz

    That's a paraphase, sorry

    September 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jazzzzzzz

    I;m just gonna start quoting bible verses, so everyone understands me
    I must be talking in a different tongue
    my fault

    September 13, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bible student

    Jesus warned his early followers of Jerualems destruction some 30 years in advance. Hos follwers got-out of the crooked Jewish religion and converted to christianily. When rome did in fact destrouy Jerusalem in the year 64AD, it was the Jews who stubbornly refused to even hear Jesus' warnings that were destroyed along with their false temple to Jesus' Father. Christians "got out so as not to become sharers with them in their sins and in their destruction." According to Jewish hostorian Josephus, Jewish women were eating their own babies during Rome's 4 year siege of Jerusalem. Get out! from among the war mongers and the sodomites if you do not wish to be destroyed right-along with them.

    September 13, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jazzzzzzz

    Yes, of course I don't I don't wish to be detroyed
    I am working on my NOT commiting the same sins as before
    Obviously you don't believe me
    I give up on trying to convice you
    I am re-reading my John chapter 8 tonight
    as well as reading up on JEALOUSCY to be sure I am not commiting that offense as well
    ok ? or is there something else I should be doing, if so please tell me

    September 13, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
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