But that it has always been true does not excuse …


The Catholic priests who abused children–and the men who covered it up–must be prosecuted By Christopher Hitchens LINK

Boy Scouts Accused of Massive Sex-Abuse Coverup LINK

Comments

  1. #1 NewEnglandBob
    March 22, 2010

    As usual, Hitchens hits the bulls-eye dead on.

    The Boy Scouts – WTF’s up with that? 80+ years of hiding it?

    Dig the dead ones up and burn them. Throw the live ones in jail.

  2. #2 D. C. Sessions
    March 22, 2010

    Reading the Papal statement was surreal. “Tricky Dick does the Vatican” was my immediate reaction. All of that passive voice responsibility avoidance!

  3. #3 daedalus2u
    March 23, 2010

    I think the clergy sex abuse could be prosecuted under a crimes against humanity legal theory and so prosecutable under international law. The relevant and controlling law is the Geneva Convention, the Holy See is a signatory, and so is bound by its provisions as a High Contracting Party.

    http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/7c4d08d9b287a42141256739003e636b/6756482d86146898c125641e004aa3c5

    All non-combatants are “protected persons”, and protected persons are

    Art. 27. Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults and public curiosity.

    Women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honour, in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault…. [I think children are also to be especially protected against rape, I think the omission of children from this was because the drafters couldn't conceive of children being systematically raped]

    Art. 32. The High Contracting Parties specifically agree that each of them is prohibited from taking any measure of such a character as to cause the physical suffering or extermination of protected persons in their hands. This prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishments, mutilation and medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment of a protected person, but also to any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents.

    Art. 146. The High Contracting Parties undertake to enact any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present Convention defined in the following Article.

    Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a prima facie case.

    Each High Contracting Party shall take measures necessary for the suppression of all acts contrary to the provisions of the present Convention other than the grave breaches defined in the following Article.

    In all circumstances, the accused persons shall benefit by safeguards of proper trial and defence, which shall not be less favourable than those provided by Article 105 and those following of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of 12 August 1949.

    Art. 147. Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the present Convention: wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power, or wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention, taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.

    Art. 148. No High Contracting Party shall be allowed to absolve itself or any other High Contracting Party of any liability incurred by itself or by another High Contracting Party in respect of breaches referred to in the preceding Article.

    Art. 149. At the request of a Party to the conflict, an enquiry shall be instituted, in a manner to be decided between the interested Parties, concerning any alleged violation of the Convention.

    If agreement has not been reached concerning the procedure for the enquiry, the Parties should agree on the choice of an umpire who will decide upon the procedure to be followed.

    Once the violation has been established, the Parties to the conflict shall put an end to it and shall repress it with the least possible delay.

    [/end quote]

    The Holy See is a High Contracting Party. The Holy See has an obligation to prevent Grave Breaches which include “wilful … inhumane treatment … wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health”.

    Adults raping children certainly constitutes wilful inhumane treatment that wilfully causes great suffering. The PTSD that has driven some victims to suicide is certainly serious injury.

    Under Article 148, the Holy See cannot absolve itself of liability for the Grave Breaches described in Article 147.

    If we look at the UN Convention on Torture

    http://www.hrweb.org/legal/cat.html

    Article 1. For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions. [/end quote]

    Rape of children by priests does fall under the definition of torture: “severe pain or suffering … intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as … intimidating or coercing him … or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a … person acting in an official capacity.”

    Priests who were allowed to continue raping children were acting with the “consent or acquiescence” of persons acting in the official capacity of the Holy See. The Holy See is a signatory to the UN Convention on Torture.

    Article 13. Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to and to have his case promptly and impartially examined its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence given.

    Requiring children to sign secrecy agreements under pain of excommunication is in direct violation of this.

    Article 14. 1. Each State Party shall ensure in its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible. In the event of the death of the victim as a result of an act of torture, his dependents shall be entitled to compensation.
    2. Nothing in this article shall affect any right of the victim or other person to compensation which may exist under national law.

    [/end quote]

    Crimes against humanity do not require the presence of an armed conflict.

    http://www.un.org/icc/crimes.htm#humanity

    I think there is a pretty good case for bringing charges of Crimes Against Humanity and Torture against the Holy See and the Vatican. There is no statute of limitations for crimes against humanity, and victims of torture are allowed to seek compensation for their injuries. Since the Holy See is a signatory, and the Holy See is complicit in the cover-up and continued abuse, it makes perfect sense to me that the Holy See is obligated to compensate these injured children.