Clergy sex abuse or even rape victims filed a complaint that seeks to hold Pope Benedict XVI and other high-ranking Roman Catholic leaders responsible for the “systematic and widespread sheltering of rape and child sex crimes throughout the globe.”
Victims of sex offenders are highly upset that no high-ranking Roman Catholic leaders have been prosecuted yet for sheltering guilty priests, who are chil abusers. They went to the International Criminal Court yesterday, seeking an investigation of the pope and top Vatican cardinals for possible crimes against humanity, starting with sexual abuse of children in the name of God. Papa and The Vatican called the move a “ludicrous publicity stunt.”
The campaign to hold the pope and Vatican responsible for “crimes against humanity” and ”rape and child sex crimes” is not a publicity stunt, sex abuse victims state. However experts doubt the case will have much success at the International Criminal Court.
Pope and Vatican: Christian Church Cover up Sex Offending Priests
The Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based nonprofit legal group, requested the inquiry on behalf of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, arguing that the global church led by Vatican has maintained a “long-standing and pervasive system of sexual violence,” despite promises to swiftly oust predators. ”They conceal their priests who are sex predators and nothing more”, one family member of an alleged victim, a 12 year old boy, stated.
Lawyers represented the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) filed the 84-page complaint at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands, on Tuesday. The filing calls for the investigation and prosecution of the Pope Benedict XI and three other top Vatican officials: former Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano; current Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone; and Cardinal William Levada, a former archbishop of San Francisco who now has jurisdiction over abuse cases as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The four men are “responsible for rape and other sexual violence and for the physical and psychological torture of victims around the world both through command responsibility and direct sheltering of crimes,” stated Pam Spees, a lawyer with the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed the complaint on SNAP’s behalf.
Vatican’s reaction to complaints : Typical anti-Catholic attempt
Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi declined requests for comment. But Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples, former head of the Vatican’s missionary office, told the Vatican Insider website that the filing was “the usual anti-Catholic attempt that tends in some way to obscure” the image of the church.The Vatican’s U.S. lawyer, Jeffrey Lena, called the complaint a “ludicrous publicity stunt and a misuse of international judicial processes” in a statement to The Associated Press.
Tuesday’s filing cites five cases of sex abuse which occurred in the U.S. and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The latter country, unlike the U.S. and the Vatican, is a party to the Rome Statute, which governs the International Criminal Court. Vatican lawyers have argued that local bishops do not act as agents of the pope, noting that they do not receive their salaries from Rome nor work on Vatican property, and that the pope is therefore not responsible for their mishandling of sex abuse cases.
The Pope is immune from prosecution
Numerous attempts to hold the Vatican responsible through the U.S. court system have repeatedly failed, usually because the pope, as the head of a sovereign state, is immune from prosecution. On Tuesday, a leading authority on international law characterized the SNAP filing as an effort to attract publicity for the group’s cause, which would not receive serious consideration from the ICC.
“There will be no follow-up,” stated Giorgio Sacerdoti, who teaches at Milan’s Bocconi University. “It will be set aside.” Among the reasons the court is likely to view the sex abuses cases as beyond its jurisdiction, Sacerdoti said, is that they were not part of a “systematic” attack on human rights.
SNAP President Barbara Blaine refused the claims that the complaint is a publicity stunt. “We have submitted 20,000 pages of evidence that fully document all the sex crimes known but not reported by Catholic Church in a way that meets the criteria of the ICC,” Blaine stated. “Our lawyers have done due diligence.
|2 June 2012|