Bil Browning

Suing the Vatican for 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Filed By Bil Browning | September 14, 2011 8:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living
Tags: Catholic church, crime against nature, International Criminal Court, sex crimes, suing the Vatican, the Hague

I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on TV. Can any of our legal beagles fill us in on whether or not this has a chance of happening? There's a difference between the political reality of whether this could happen and whether Thumbnail image for 1166948897_1024x768_the-new-pope-benedict-xvi.jpgit has any legal legs.

Is there any chance the International Criminal Court prosecutor will investigate the Vatican for crimes against humanity?

From a press release sent to us yesterday:

A survivor-led support group for clergy sex abuse victims today formally urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to investigate the Vatican for crimes against humanity.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, together with their attorneys from the human rights organization the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), filed a lengthy and detailed complaint charging that Vatican officials tolerate and enable the systematic and widespread concealing of rape and child sex crimes throughout the world. Together with the complaint, they submitted more than 20,000 pages of supporting materials consisting of reports, policy papers, and evidence of the crimes by Catholic clergy committed against children and vulnerable adults.

SNAP members from Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the U.S. traveled to The Hague to insist that the ICC take action and prosecute the Pope and three other high-ranking Vatican officials for their direct and superior responsibility for the crimes against humanity of rape and other sexual violence committed around the world.

More after the break.

"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, " said CCR Senior Staff Attorney Pam Spees. "These men operate with impunity and without accountability. The Vatican officials charged in this case 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 through direct cover up of crimes. They should be brought to trial like any other officials guilty of crimes against humanity."

Said SNAP President Barbara Blaine, "SNAP wants to prevent even one more child from being raped or sexually assaulted by a priest and we hope that victims around the world will know today that they are not alone and that it is safe to speak up and report their abuse. We as victims are mobilizing across the globe, and every survivor is invited to join us."

Said 21-year-old SNAP member Megan Peterson, who spoke publicly of her abuse for the first time last week, "It's important that the Court understand that this is still happening and that they need to take this case seriously and do the right thing. I don't want any more kids to go through what I went through."

Clergy sex crimes have been perpetrated and concealed in nearly every country. In the United States alone, church authorities admit that nearly 6,000 priests have been publicly accused of molesting children over the past few decades. SNAP estimates that there are as many as 100,000 American victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and that in other nations, where child-protection laws may not be as robust as in the United States, the number of victims is equally staggering. As many as 20,000 sexually abusive or violent predator priests are still working even after having been accused of a crime; often, these priests are simply shifted to areas where the Church has extreme power or influence, or to remote areas isolated from mechanisms of support, prevention, and accountability.

The jurisdiction of the ICC names rape, sexual violence assault, and torture as crimes against humanity. It also provides for individual criminal liability for those with command or superior responsibility over those who directly commit such crimes. These are the mechanisms through which the complaint urges investigation and prosecution of Vatican officials for their roles in the rape, sexual assault, and torture of thousands of individuals around the world. This could be the first time that an international court asserts jurisdiction over the Vatican for crimes committed by its agents worldwide.

SNAP and CCR are embarking on a 12-city tour throughout Europe to demand local diocese turn over relevant documents and encourage other victims of sexual abuse by clergy to come forward and provide additional evidence to add to the complaint. In addition to The Hague, they will visit Amsterdam on September 13; Brussels and Berlin on the 14th; Paris on the 15th; Vienna and London on the 16th; Dublin and Warsaw on the 18th; and Madrid on the 19th. Their travels will culminate in Rome on the 20th, where they will bring the case to the Vatican's door.

SNAP is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. It has existed for 23 years and has more than 10,000 members. Despite the word "priest" in its title, it has members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Visit www.snapnetwork.org.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org; follow @theCCR.


Recent Entries Filed under Living:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


I grew up in Ireland.

The church has raped Ireland, its people and its children for centuries.

Justice is long overdue.

I hope the International Criminal Court jails Ratzinger.

No child should ever be hurt! If someone commits such an act or someone tries to hinder or conceal an investigation they should face trial.

I'm also not a lawyer, but have watched a few such actions out there and commentary on them, whether investigation- or trial-related. Ultimately, the Vatican will not participate, and our various nations will continue to accord the Pope and the Catholic Church with diplomatic immunity. So these processes can go through the motions and even pass a sentence or recommendation, but that's likely as far as it would go at this point in time - a gesture only. I don't see that the International Criminal Court will be any different.

Mercedes, you clearly know nothing about the International Criminal Court. Some of the people tried and jailed by the ICC had diplomatic immunity and were the leaders of there respective countries when they commited there crimes. The Pope, Pala Annoucio's and Archbishops have diplomatic immunity, but that will not stop them from being tried in the ICC if this case suceeds.

Just because the USA refuses to sign up to the International Criminal Court, does not mean it is not an effective court with real powers.

The ICC operates to jail war criminals, leaders of countries, mass murderers, mass rapists, etc, who have abused there government authority to commit horrendous crimes and to avoid justice. Another aspect of the ICC is that it can arrange compensation for the victims of those horrific crimes to be paid by the perpetrators.

Systematic mass rape of millions of children worldwide and then conspiring to avoid justice for those crimes would fall directly under the ICC, just as it did in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for which several people who held high office are now on trial in the Hague (ICC) for mass rape, mass child rape, mass sex slavery and other crimes, just as the Vatican has committed.

The ICC have the authority to override diplomatic immunity and jail the pope, just as they did in Congo and the former Yugoslavia. That is one of the many reasons that the USA refuses to sign up to the ICC.

Italy and every other European member of the European Union are signed up members of the ICC.

Besides that, legally the Concordat between Mussolini and the Vatican is an illegal act between a war criminal and the Vatican so legally the Vatican can be argued to not be a seperate state from Italy, no matter what the Italians or US likes to claim.

As the Vatican is a foreign country is isn't a legal target of a civil suit. They have used this status to try to claim all Catholic churches are embassies and immune from police searches and priests are diplomatic staff immune from prosecution/civil restitution. (these attempts have been unsuccessful)

The ICC can over ride soverignty and diplomatic immunity. Please learn what type of court the ICC is. It is not a local civil court, it is an international criminal court, which can try anyone for a crime from a soldier raping civilians to a world leader.

The ICC is based upon the type of court that was set up at Nurnberg to try Nazi war criminals and has learned from the mistakes of the Nurnberg war crimes. I suggest you read about the Catholic Church involvement in the war crimes in the Former Yugoslavia in World War 2.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_clergy_involvement_with_the_Usta%C5%A1e I suggest you also read about how the Catholic Church helped the war criminal Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac avoid being executed forn his heinous crimes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alojzije_Stepinac

The warrant for Colonel Gaddafi's arrest was issued by the ICC when he was the leader of a soverigen country and had full diplomatic immunity.

The ICC has teh power to try teh pope, Papal Annoucio and Archbishops. The ICC is the only court in the world that can over ride and ignore diplomatic immunity.

I am one of those abused and who had my abuse covered up and my abuser allowed to continue in ministry for over 30 years. I am not a legal expert, but I do know how the Vatican works. It will weasel out of having to accept responsibility for all the harm it has done around the world. However, I am happy that someone is at least trying and that it is making headlines around the world. The Vatican is hurt the most in it's pocketbook, but second worst is it's reputation in the eyes of the world. This is a very public way of showing the world the Vatican's dirty linen and we all know there is two thousand years worth of that!

Some of the people tried and jailed by the ICC had diplomatic immunity and were the leaders of there respective countries when they commited there crimes. The Pope, Papal Annoucio’s and Archbishops have diplomatic immunity, but that will not stop them from being tried in the ICC, if this case suceeds.

The warrant for Colonel Gaddafi that was issued when he was still leader of Libya with full diplomatic immunity, should let everyone know the seriousness of this move by SNAP.

The ICC operates to jail war criminals, leaders of countries, mass murderers, mass rapists, etc, who have abused there government authority to commit horrendous crimes and to avoid justice. Another aspect of the ICC is that it can arrange compensation for the victims of those horrific crimes to be paid by the perpetrators.

Systematic mass rape of millions (possibly tens of millions) of children worldwide and then conspiring to avoid justice for those crimes would fall directly under the ICC, just as it did in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for which several people who held high office are now on trial in the Hague (ICC) for mass rape, mass child rape, mass sex slavery and other crimes, just as the Vatican has committed.

The crime of selling children for profit is taken very seriously by the ICC. In Ireland, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Philipines and many other countries where the catholic church ran adoption agencies, tens of thousands of children were sold worldwide for cash to childless couples worldwide for cash right up the 70?s, after being removed from parents, whom the catholic church deemed unfit to be parents. Selling children for cash is recognised as a crime in every civilised country.

The ICC have the authority to override diplomatic immunity and jail the pope, just as they did in Congo and the former Yugoslavia with leaders from those countries.

Italy and every other European member of the European Union are signed up members of the ICC.

Besides that, legally the Concordat between Mussolini and the Vatican is an illegal act between a war criminal and the Vatican so legally the Vatican can be argued to not be a seperate state from Italy. To make matters worse the signers of the Concordat were all members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who had taken an oath to defend the Pope to death, over all other oaths and allegiances. Mussolini has actually sworn an oath to the leader of the Knights of Malta, to protect and defend the Pope over all others, including Italy itself, which most Italians, regardless of political opinion, don’t want to know.

Even if SNAP fails to get a warrant issued for the pope’s arrest, this move will damage the catholic church worldwide. SNAP will most likely have to submit the complaint several times before it starts to get looked at seriously, but if they keep doing it, they may suceed. Millions are pissed of at the catholic church and the numbers are growing daily.

I will be watching this with interest.

You ask the question - will this push for justice succeed? According to Bible prophecy the answer is YES. Read about it here:
http://www.indiegospel.org/profiles/blogs/anti-christ