04 Apr More on Suing the Pope: Maybe He Should Avoid Britain for a While
Happy Easter, everyone! I recognize this is a bit of an unpleasant topic to bring up on a holy day, but it is worth noting that the rumblings about litigation against the Vatican and the Pope over the various child-sex-abuse scandals continue. Lawyers in the UK are actively researching how and whether to bring legal action during the Pope’s upcoming visit. As commenters to my earlier post have pointed out, any claim against the Pope himself, or the Vatican, under international law seems fairly sketchy. But a lawsuit might still be filed. From the AP:
Protests are growing against Pope Benedict XVI’s planned trip to Britain, where some lawyers question whether the Vatican’s implicit statehood status should shield the pope from prosecution over sex crimes by pedophile priests.
More than 10,000 people have signed a petition on Downing Street’s web site against the pope’s 4-day visit to England and Scotland in September, which will cost U.K. taxpayers an estimated 15 million pounds ($22.5 million).
The campaign has gained momentum as more Catholic sex abuse scandals have swept across Europe.
Although Benedict has not been accused of any crime, senior British lawyers are now examining whether the pope should have immunity as a head of state and whether he could be prosecuted under the principle of universal jurisdiction for an alleged systematic cover-up of sexual abuses by priests.