UN Judge Says Pope Should be Prosecuted at International Criminal Court

Another one for "Is It Stupidity Or Just Bigotry" file….

From C-FAM:

UN Judge Says Pope Should be Prosecuted at International Criminal Court

By Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D.

April 8, 2010 (C-FAM) – In London last Friday, a high ranking United Nations (UN) jurist called on the British government to detain Pope Benedict XVI during his upcoming visit to Britain, and send him to trial in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for “crimes against humanity.”

Geoffrey Robertson touted his status as a UN judge in an article he published last week, in which he argued that jurists should invoke the same procedures that have been used to indict war criminals such as Slobodan Milosevic, to try the Pope as head of the Roman Catholic Church, who he said is ultimately responsible for sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests.  [Did he just compare Pope Benedict to Slobodan Milosevic?  How stupid is this guy?  Or is he simply a bigot?]

Robertson is one of five select jurists in the UN’s internal justice system responsible for holding UN officials accountable for corruption and mismanagement. [So, perhaps he – a judge – should stick to looking at UN officials and keep his mouth shut about others?] His article was published in both the United States and Britain and reported on by the Associated Press.

     Professor Hurst Hannum of the Fletcher School at Tufts University told the Friday Fax that it would be a “real stretch” to use the ICC since that court’s jurisdiction is mainly reserved for crimes during war. ["war crimes"] More likely, Hannum said, is that Robertson and likeminded experts would invoke the principle of “universal jurisdiction” so that national courts all over the world could detain the pope whenever he stepped foot on their soil. Critics say the principle, already used in practice, is a violation of sovereignty as it is enshrined in the UN Charter.

     Yet Robertson insisted that the ICC could be used as long as the Pope’s sovereign immunity was waived and as long as jurists can show that the sex abuse scandal was carried out on a “widespread or systematic scale,” the way that child soldiers were used in the wars in Sierra Leone and the way that sex slaves are traded internationally.

     Robertson, a tort lawyer, argued that prosecution at a higher level of the Church is necessary to get more money for victims of clergy sexual abuse in cases where dioceses have gone into bankruptcy. He specifically pointed out the fact that the diocese of Los Angeles has already paid $660M in damages and Boston has paid $100M.

One prominent law professor told the Friday Fax, “Without in any way minimizing the seriousness of the alleged offenses of Catholic priests, it would be a grave mistake to the laws of human rights to permit a trivializing of the responsibility to protect, and to play into the hands of American contingency-fee lawyers.”

 [Read this closely…]    Another human rights lawyer told the Friday Fax that the article could be part of a broader campaignRobertson has long campaigned to strip the Holy See of its permanent observer status at the UN, and has publicly referred to the Holy See “the world’s largest NGO.”

     When a campaign was launched to oust the Holy See from its status in 1999, UN Member States rallied around the Vatican, and in 2004 the General Assembly voted unanimously to expand that status. It is unclear whether UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon knew about Robertson’s leanings before appointing him to his current position[Someone should ask him.  Hey!  CNN!  FoxNews!]

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Flambeaux says:

    When I was in law school several years ago, as the Boston mess was hitting the news, one of my professors approached me excitedly with excerpts from an email exchange she’d been having with several other lawyers.

    They were discussing how to “pierce the corporate veil” in order to get at diocesan assets and she opined to me that this would be the first step to getting at the Vatican’s assets and bringing down the Church through litigation. She invited me to participate in this little exercise as she thought it would be beneficial to my legal education and my eventual legal career.

    This sort of thing has been in the works for a while. I declined and, some time later, left law school with no intention of returning.

  2. irishgirl says:

    This kind of thing goes to show that the UN is a no-good organization!

    Why do we Americans have to put up with this nonsense on our own soil-and pay for its upkeep with our tax dollars to boot? It should be kicked out of the US and sent to some deserted island somewhere!

    The nerve of this guy!

  3. Brian Day says:

    How stupid is this guy? Or is he simply a bigot?

    How about both – he is stupid and a bigot. It really amazes me that people want to hold the Pope accountable for abuses that occurred well before his pontificate.
    There are people who are advocating that GWB should be prosecuted as a war criminal, so the thing to do is to arrest Obama for crimes against humanity instead.

  4. Elly says:

    Scary. This sounds like pure hatred.

  5. Randii says:

    British lawyers are debating whether this could be done or not and their opinion is divided:


    However, British courts have been known to act independently of the wishes of the British government and consensus opinion so one never knows.

    I think the trip will ultimately be canceled. Not because of the threat of prosecution but because there are likely to be massive anti-Papal, anti-Catholic demonstrations by the Brits. Already tens of thousands have signed petitions to Downing Street asking that the the government cancel the Pope’s trip and not spend any taxpayer money for the event.

    This could be a huge PR disaster because of the threat of demonstrations and the possibility of things getting out of hand.

    Hopefully the Vatican will decide to “delay” the trip.

  6. Robert of Rome says:

    From a May 2008 Reuters story:

    “Accusations of sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers and aid workers around the world have increased in recent years and the United Nations is investigating claims against its soldiers in hotspots such as Haiti, Liberia, Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    “The report said while the U.N. and some non-governmental organizations were stepping up efforts to address the problem, a global watchdog should be established this year to monitor attempts to tackle abuse and champion effective responses.

    “Save the Children based its findings on visits last year to Haiti, Southern Sudan and Ivory Coast. It held 38 focus group discussions with 250 children and 90 adults, followed up by in-depth interviews with some and desk-based research.

    “The study found a huge range of exploitation and abuse: children trading sex for food, forced sex, verbal sexual abuse, child prostitution, child pornography, sexual slavery, sexual assault and child trafficking.

    “The focus groups identified children as young as six as having been abused, although most were aged 14 to 15.

    “U.N. peacekeepers were identified as the most likely perpetrators by 20 of the 38 groups, although a total of 23 humanitarian, peacekeeping and security organizations were associated with sexual abuse in the three countries.

    “‘All humanitarian and peacekeeping agencies working in emergency situations, including Save the Children UK, must own up to the fact that they are vulnerable to this problem and tackle it head on’, said Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of Save the Children UK.”


  7. Mickey says:

    Reason #902 for the US NOT to sign onto the ICC…

  8. Robert of Rome: Great comment!

    They are living in a glass house.

  9. Scott W. says:

    I hope the trip goes through as planned. Papal visits are important to the faithful and if they can be shut down by muckrakers, they win.

  10. TJerome says:

    Just another liberal loon. There are probably Catholic collaborators who agree with him.

  11. TJerome says:

    Did this guy want to try the Ayatollah Khomenei? I suspect not because the “Religion of Peace” would probably cut of his head.

  12. Fr. Andrew says:

    Fr. Z and Robert of Rome-

    Carl Olson’s blog points out a NCREGISTER article on the issue of U.N. abuse.

  13. “stupid is as stupid does”…
    Is he for ‘real’?
    “Crimes against humanity”?
    This only confirms (although that might not be evident to those railing against Pope Benedict) that there is definitely a “conspiracy” to bring down the Catholic Church; but not for child abuse…oh no, there’s much more here than meets the eye.

  14. B.C.M. says:

    See, I don’t mind so much. As far as I know, the Holy Father hasn’t been to Holland in a while… Catholic countries will just need to join him there. With guns.

    ADAMLY: …and committing the U.S. the Catholic World to forcibly rescue any American soldier Sovereign Pontiff held and tried in such a court. Leo, Z this commits the United States to a scenario…where we’d be invading Holland!

  15. Scott W. says:

    a “conspiracy” to bring down the Catholic Church; but not for child abuse…oh no, there’s much more here than meets the eye.

    Well the UN is still stuck on the idea of using contraceptives to stop African AIDS despite evidence it doesn’t work, and the Church continues to be their main opposition. Plus when they are allowing Planned Parenthood lit (pdf) to be handed out at their meetings (by, I kid you not, Girl Scouts), then it doesn’t seem so implausible.

  16. chironomo says:

    How stupid is this guy? Or is he simply a bigot?

    Yep… I would go with the “simply a stupid bigot” option. Has this “Judge” suggested Hugo Chavez, or Fidel Castro, or Ahmadinejhad, or Kim Jong-il for such a trial? Since much of this abuse took place in Ireland and Germany and the U.S, why not simply try the leaders of those countries since they would seem to be more responsible for actions taking place in their country. It doesn’t seem to matter to this Judge whether or not there is any legal precedent or intention or malice or culpability….

  17. Elly says:

    I can’t stop thinking about this. I’m not sure why it scares me so much but its the kind of thing that makes me think we need to have a lot of children to take back the world from people who hate Jesus and His Church.

  18. Mike says:

    I would expect that when Benedict visits England he will have with him a special detachment of Swiss Guards specially trained to deal with moronic, hypocritical jurists who have so much time on their hands that manufacturing charges against the Vicar of Christ actually seems like a cool idea. These specially-trained commandos will free the perimeters around his Holiness with lazer-sighted armaments able to vaporize bigoted opinions pretending to jurisprudence.

    If only!

  19. chironomo says:


    They will, eventually, collapse under the weight of their own scheme. Their “Bringing down of the Church” might destroy it’s “mainstream” forms if all went as these fools might be planning, but that wouldn’t really end the Church, now would it? The result would be the kind of small, purified and orthodox church that survives on the fringe and strengthens it’s faith rather than weakens it. A persecuted church as it were. Perhaps that is one way this could be headed. Such a route seldom turns out well for the persecutor.

  20. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Since “Good King Henry,” the Brits have had it in for Catholics. (And all because he wanted to dump wife #1.) I shudder at reading the histories of what happened to Catholics and Priests that “dared” to practice their religion. Nothing has changed it seems.

  21. Bruce says:

    In the words of one of my favorite fictional characters:

    “What a maroon, what an ignoranimus.”

  22. ghlad says:

    Sounds like Robertson is drinking a tall, cold glass of Haterade.

    Why doesn’t he go after real criminals like Kojo Annon (Kofi’s son) for corruption?

    The U.N. is a joke.

    And in what very well may be a WDTPRS blog first, I’d like to quote a song lyric from Megadeth:

    “The ‘U.N.’ is right/ You can’t be any more “UN”/ Than you are right now/ The U.N. is undone!/ Another mushroom cloud/ Another smoking gun/ The threat is real/ At the United AbomiNatioooons!”

  23. Jordanes says:

    Further reason why the UN should be disbanded. Eventually the folks at the Vatican will figure out that the UN is not anyone’s friend and is irreformable . . . .

  24. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Apparently Mr. Robertson’s statue of Justice does not have a blindfold. Maybe there is something to all those complaints voiced over the centuries by the Irish against British judges.

    I’m intending to write our U.N. respresentative asking him to request the removal of this bozo. Contact information here: http://archive.usun.state.gov/Issues/Contact2.html

  25. shane says:

    Very disturbing. Thankfully it will never happen.

  26. doanli says:

    We call the UN “Useless Nitwits”. Appropo.

  27. Mariana says:

    “I hope the trip goes through as planned.”

    Of course it will. Surely the ladies and gentlemen of the press will run out of steam soon and find something else to have hysterics over.

  28. Yes, both stupid AND bigoted!

    Using his logic, should the ICC prosecute the Archbishop of Canterbury for crimes committed by Anglican clergy?

    And this guy is supposed to be a JURIST???

  29. TJerome says:

    The UN has outlived its shelf-life unless you want it around for entertainment value. Why the US bothers with it is beyond me. Most of the member nations are dictatorship or kleptocracies.

  30. Scott W. says:

    “What a maroon, what an ignoranimus”

    “What a gulliBULL. What a NinCOWpoop.” :)

  31. AJP says:

    Sigh, not much has changed since the 1500s in England, has it? I wish more of the hierarchy both in the US and in the Vatican would wake up about the UN. They are a big waste of money, a force for much evil, and a joke when it comes to actually stopping war and terrorism.

    Geoffery Robertson is definitely a bigot, although I wouldn’t say he’s stupid (if he were, he wouldn’t be as dangerous). He also looks like one of the guys on this site http://www.menwholooklikeoldlesbians.blogspot.com

    some humor at the link that some may find offensive.

  32. Timbot2000 says:

    All I can say to him is
    “You’re DiTHpickable!”

  33. Michael in NoVA says:

    Father, you also didn’t bold-face another important fact about this “jurist”: He’s a TORT LAWYER. Gee, there couldn’t be any personal gain that could be had by him if something like this happened, would there be?

  34. This alarms me, though I admit I do not know how well this represents secular thinking among the elites. If such people would hold sway, it could be a time of overt persecution for the Church, though I pray I am mistaken on this.

    We need to pray for the Pope and the Church to be protected.

  35. ikseret says:

    I doubt we’ll the same outrage at Robertson’s bigoted analogy as we did at Fr. Cantalamessa’s foolish one.

    That said, the goal of many in the UN is to form a world government so that they can move against the Church, pope, and bishops.

  36. Justin from Ohio says:

    The Pope MUST go to England as planned…no matter what. Our leader here on earth cannot shrink from controversy or avoid places due to threats from the enemies of the Church.

    The best thing he can do is go as planned to England in the fall. His witness and presence will be powerful indeed. His peaceful, kind nature will stand out (it always does) and will be contrasted against the lunatic-fringe (atheists, secularists, lefties, anarchists, womyn priests, wiccans, etc.) that will vehemently protest him in England.

    His celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the elevation of Cardinal Newman will send a message to most moderate and conservative Brits about what’s truly important. I really believe there will be many conversions in England back to the one, true faith of the Catholic Church because of this. It will be the impetus that could give the final push to many Anglicans and others that are thinking of coming into to the Catholic Church, but have still been hesitating about taking the plunge into the Tiber.

    the Holy Father’s motto for this trip should be: “Be Not Afraid” (the quote from the scriptures, not the terrible contemporary hymn”).

  37. Mike says:


    Ditto that!

  38. AnAmericanMother says:

    “Do not fear, but speak; and hold not thy peace.” Acts 18:9

  39. JARay says:

    I have written elsewhere that I fear for the Pope on this visit. Although I do pray that all will be well I would not like to rely on the authorities in Britain right now to guarantee the Pope’s safety. Officially his visit is a State visit which means that he will be entertained by the Queen and that should ensure complete safety, but the devil’s agents are at work and the likes of this Robertson fellow will do their worst.

  40. lhwhitaker says:

    Well, of course this is a little “over the top,” but something has to be done. This scandal is creeping closer and closer to the Pope himself.

    Out today is the word from the AP that the Pope was more concerned about the public image of the church than the safety of children. http://is.gd/bm38q . How can this possibly be defended? [I know you are hoping someone gets him, but this latest story also forces facts out of shape. Do more homework.]


  41. robtbrown says:

    Out today is the word from the AP that the Pope was more concerned about the public image of the church than the safety of children. http://is.gd/bm38q . How can this possibly be defended?
    CoMment by lhwhitaker

    Once again: Any diocesan bishop has the authority to remove a priest from ministry, permitting him only to say private mass.

  42. Peter in Canberra says:

    “… Robertson has long campaigned to strip the Holy See of its permanent observer status at the UN, and has publicly referred to the Holy See “the world’s largest NGO.”

    That’s pretty rich – as if being an NGO (which the Holy See is not) means you the UN admits all manner of NGOs (Greenpeace for example) to multilateral meetings. In fact the UN seems to court and fete this type of NGO. Let’s see, the Church defends the unborn, what do these other NGOs do?

    Robertson was always an arrogant SOB.

  43. deborah-anne says:

    Without question this guy is a stupid bigot. His real motivation is to ‘strip the Holy See of its permanent observer status at the UN.” Robertson has been chipping away for a long time. The assault on the Pope and Church continues!
    More prayers needed.

  44. Enough about this fellow.

Comments are closed.