Global Market Data
Global News Journal
Pakistan: Now or Never?
Front Row Washington
The Great Debate
Personal Finance Video
Life & Culture
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Full Article
Obama faces skepticism from swing voters: poll
Madonna to critics: review my movie, not me
12 Sep 2011
Taliban attack across Kabul, target U.S. embassy
Perez Hilton launches celebrity family website
US FCC's Internet rules clear a review hurdle
12 Sep 2011
Obama to propose $300 billion jobs package: report
Al Gore in 24-hour broadcast to convert climate skeptics
Obama to call for urgent steps on economy
Buenos Aires Fashion week sizzles
Mon, Aug 22 2011
Perry under attack in U.S. debate
Asia’s Priciest Cities
Sun, Sep 11 2011
Hague court urged to investigate Pope over sex abuse
Fighters head towards showdown with pro-Gaddafi town
Wed, Sep 7 2011
Analysis: What should justice for Gaddafi look like?
Fri, Sep 2 2011
Kenyan ex-ministers at ICC over poll violence
Thu, Sep 1 2011
Gaddafi family members flee to Algeria without him
Mon, Aug 29 2011
Gaddafi son Khamis, spy chief believed dead - rebels
Mon, Aug 29 2011
Analysis & Opinion
OSCE conference warns of growing intolerance against Europe’s Christians
Despite progress since 9/11, government must do more to combat terror finance, experts say
Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives to celebrate a Mass in Ancona's shipyard, central Italy September 11, 2011.
Credit: Reuters/Giorgio Benvenuti
By Aaron Gray-Block
Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:40am EDT
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Victims of sexual abuse by the clergy want the International Criminal Court to investigate Pope Benedict and three Vatican officials for allowing the rape and sexual abuse of children.
The New York-based rights group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and another group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), filed a complaint with the ICC alleging that Vatican officials committed crimes against humanity because they tolerated and enabled sex crimes.
But it seems unlikely that the ICC, the world's first permanent war crimes court, could take on such a case.
Many of the crimes occurred before 2002, when the ICC was set up, which puts them outside the court's remit, while the Vatican itself has not signed up to the court's jurisdiction.
"It will be very difficult to make an argument that the Church as an organized group committed a crime against humanity and it would be debatable whether that was based on a common plan," said Andre de Hoogh, a lecturer in international law at Groningen University.
The Catholic Church has been rocked by a series of sexual abuse cover-up scandals in Europe and the United States in recent years.
"Crimes against tens of thousands of victims, most of them children, are being covered up by officials at the highest level of the Vatican. In this case, all roads really do lead to Rome," CCR lawyer Pam Spees said.
A Vatican spokesman said there would be no immediate comment. An ICC official referred inquiries to the prosecutor.
While the Vatican has not signed up to the ICC, countries such as Italy, the Netherlands and Germany have done so, which means that their citizens are subject to ICC jurisdiction. Pope Benedict is German-born.
"The Office of the Prosecutor has received the documents," spokeswoman Florence Olara said, adding that the prosecutor's office "will analyze ... and make a decision in due course."
CCR said it had lodged more than 20,000 pages of reports, policy papers and evidence of crimes by Catholic clergy committed against children and vulnerable adults. SNAP members from Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United States traveled to The Hague to file the request on Tuesday.
The file names Pope Benedict, former Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, current Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone and Cardinal William Levada, the top doctrinal official.
The ICC has investigated crimes including genocide, murder, conscription of child soldiers and rape, mostly in Africa, and most recently issued an arrest warrant for Libya's Muammar Gaddafi.
It has jurisdiction over the crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, which include rape, sexual violence, assault and torture.
It has received multiple requests for investigations in the past, such as from Syrian human rights groups in June calling on the court to investigate the killing of civilians in Syria, but the court also lacks jurisdiction in Syria.
The Rome Statute that set up the court also stipulates that the ICC should be used as a court of last resort only if national proceedings are not taking place.
(Reporting by Aaron Gray-Block, Tom Heneghan and Philip Pullella; Editing by Janet Lawrence)
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
The Cardinals should have chosen a more photogenic representative; I have never seen a photo or video of this Pope in which he didn’t appear sinister… like a character out of a Stephen King story.
Sep 13, 2011 8:10am EDT -- Report as abuse
See All Comments »
Add Your Comment
Social Stream (What's this?)
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Advertise With Us
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.