beneath contempt, not above the law

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Andrew Sullivan posted this photo of a Papal billboard defaced with the word "pedoflu" (pedophile) and a Nazi Ratzi mustache:

20100412-ratzimustache.jpg

Geoffrey Robertson suggested at The Guardian that we "Put the Pope in the Dock," writing that "the Holy See can no longer ignore international law, which now counts the widespread or systematic sexual abuse of children as a crime against humanity. The anomalous claim of the Vatican to be a state - and of the pope to be a head of state and hence immune from legal action - cannot stand up to scrutiny:"

...the Vatican was created by fascist Italy in 1929 when Mussolini endowed this tiny enclave - 0.17 of a square mile containing 900 Catholic bureaucrats - with "sovereignty in the international field ... in conformity with its traditions and the exigencies of its mission in the world". [...]

The UN at its inception refused membership to the Vatican but has allowed it a unique "observer status", permitting it to become signatory to treaties such as the Law of the Sea and (ironically) the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to speak and vote at UN conferences where it promotes its controversial dogmas on abortion, contraception and homosexuality. This has involved the UN in blatant discrimination on grounds of religion: other faiths are unofficially represented, if at all, by NGOs. But it has encouraged the Vatican to claim statehood - and immunity from liability.

This claim could be challenged successfully in the UK and in the European Court of Human Rights. But in any event, head of state immunity provides no protection for the pope in the international criminal court (see its current indictment of President Bashir). The ICC Statute definition of a crime against humanity includes rape and sexual slavery and other similarly inhumane acts causing harm to mental or physical health, committed against civilians on a widespread or systematic scale, if condoned by a government or a de facto authority. It has been held to cover the recruitment of children as soldiers or sex slaves. If acts of sexual abuse by priests are not isolated or sporadic, but part of a wide practice both known to and unpunished by their de facto authority then they fall within the temporal jurisdiction of the ICC - if that practice continued after July 2002, when the court was established.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on April 12, 2010 10:23 PM.

suffer the little children was the previous entry in this blog.

celebrating "Treason in Defense of Slavery" month is the next entry in this blog.

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