Child abuse victims sue Pope for 'crimes against humanity'

· Christianity, Human Rights

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An international group for victims of sexual abuse by priests said today they were suing Pope Benedict XVI through the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said it had filed a complaint calling on the court to “take action and prosecute the Pope” for “direct and superior responsibility for the crimes against humanity of rape and other sexual violence committed around the world.”

In a statement, SNAP said members from Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the US had travelled to The Hague to urge prosecutors to investigate the Pope.

They also asked for three high-ranking Vatican officials — Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, his predecessor Angelo Sodano and the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, US William Levada — to be investigated.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi refused to comment.

The SNAP members were accompanied by lawyers from the non-profit US Centre for Constitutional Rights.

The US-based victims network submitted more than 20,000 pages of supporting materials including “reports, policy papers, and evidence of the crimes by Catholic clergy committed against children and vulnerable adults,” it said.

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