Dawkins & Hitchens v Pope

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Ygern
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Dawkins & Hitchens v Pope

Post by Ygern » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:36 am

Dawkins and Hitchens have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI

Times Online article

Quote from their legal team:
“There is every possibility of legal action against the Pope occurring,” said Stephens. “Geoffrey and I have both come to the view that the Vatican is not actually a state in international law. It is not recognised by the UN, it does not have borders that are policed and its relations are not of a full diplomatic nature.”
It's pretty cool that they have stepped up to the plate on this one. I highly doubt any high-level politician in any country would have the neck to initiate a case, and the Church would have gone unchallenged but for this.
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bipedalhumanoid
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Re: Dawkins & Hitchens v Pope

Post by bipedalhumanoid » Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:49 am

This is excellent news. Of course if it turns out that they have a strong case the Pope will simply cancel his visit but it will still send shockwaves around the world if Dawkins and Hitchens manage to get his visit cancelled!
"The fact of your own existence is the most astonishing fact you will ever have to face. Don’t you ever get used to it." - Richard Dawkins... being shrill and offensive again I suppose.
Dev
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Re: Dawkins & Hitchens v Pope

Post by Dev » Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:09 pm

Ygern wrote:
It's pretty cool that they have stepped up to the plate on this one. I highly doubt any high-level politician in any country would have the neck to initiate a case, and the Church would have gone unchallenged but for this.
Isn't that part of the responsibility of the certain UN diplomats? No country wants to be the single one responsible for charging the pope.

I suspect a realistic best case scenario would be to charge, acquit and set forth a pressured resignation. I'm confident the pope will never see the outside or inside of a gaol.

I'll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about international law other than diplomatic immunity plays a treasured role but this whole thing has a Watergate feel to it.
Ygern
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Re: Dawkins & Hitchens v Pope

Post by Ygern » Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:57 pm

I think a lot of it hinges on whether the Vatican really is a sovereign state or not, which would be a matter for courts to decide. The Vatican became a so-called state only on the word of Mussolini in 1929, so its statehood may not be as written in stone as the Church would like people to believe.

The Pope is by no means the only one guilty of covering up crimes, but it is a start if only to break this illusion of "untouchable" that surrounds the higher levels in the Church.

Richard has clarified some more over on his site :
Needless to say, I did NOT say "I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI" or anything so personally grandiloquent. You have to remember that The Sunday Times is a Murdoch newspaper, and that all newspapers follow the odd custom of entrusting headlines to a sub-editor, not the author of the article itself.

What I DID say to Marc Horne when he telephoned me out of the blue, and I repeat it here, is that I am whole-heartedly behind the initiative by Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens to mount a legal challenge to the Pope's proposed visit to Britain. Beyond that, I declined to comment to Marc Horme, other than to refer him to my 'Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope' article here: http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5341

Here is what really happened. Christopher Hitchens first proposed the legal challenge idea to me on March 14th. I responded enthusiastically, and suggested the name of a high profile human rights lawyer whom I know. I had lost her address, however, and set about tracking her down. Meanwhile, Christopher made the brilliant suggestion of Geoffrey Robertson. He approached him, and Mr Robertson's subsequent 'Put the Pope in the Dock' article in The Guardian shows him to be ideal:
http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5366
The case is obviously in good hands, with him and Mark Stephens. I am especially intrigued by the proposed challenge to the legality of the Vatican as a sovereign state whose head can claim diplomatic immunity.

Even if the Pope doesn't end up in the dock, and even if the Vatican doesn't cancel the visit, I am optimistic that we shall raise public consciousness to the point where the British government will find it very awkward indeed to go ahead with the Pope's visit, let alone pay for it.

Richard
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ctr
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Re: Dawkins & Hitchens v Pope

Post by ctr » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:32 pm

I predict now that the courts will use any and every available legal nicety to rule against the case.

The Pope is untouchable...unfortunately. :(


(please hope I'm proved wrong)
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Dev
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Re: Dawkins & Hitchens v Pope

Post by Dev » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:12 am

Richard Dawkins wrote:anything so personally grandiloquent
Apple Dictionary wrote:grandiloquent |granˈdiləkwənt|
adjective
pompous or extravagant in language, style, or manner, esp. in a way that is intended to impress : a grandiloquent celebration of Spanish glory.

As an aside this is easily the most self-descriptive word I've ever heard.
lughlamhfada
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Re: Dawkins & Hitchens v Pope

Post by lughlamhfada » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:42 am

Nicely timed. The Irish public seem to be bored of the abuse scandals and want to be left in peace to go back to mass. The combination of the Pope being too cowardly to turn up here, against the backdrop of serious discussion about prosecution should filter through to the densest heads here.

Possibly Tubridy and his ilk will try to portray Dawkins/Hitchens as fringe lunatics again... Dawkins on Pat Kenny's morning program or Hitchens on Gerry Ryan could be more interesting prospect though. :)
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Re: Dawkins & Hitchens v Pope

Post by smellyoldgit » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:41 am

Back in 1998, the principle of 'Universal jurisdiction' was used by Spain and the UK to slap the manacles on Pinochet. I wonder if enough governments from around the world have the collective balls to pull together and drag ol' Joey Ratz to the tower? I fear not.
Ygern
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Re: Dawkins & Hitchens v Pope

Post by Ygern » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:07 am

Geoffrey Robertson (the lawyer) sets out some of his points about whether the Vatican is or is not a state here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... tional-law
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.
He then goes on to point out that this may not even be relevant.
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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eccles
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Re: Dawkins & Hitchens v Pope

Post by eccles » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:50 am

To encourage Herr Papst Ratslinger to make his confession ere is an exquisite instrument of torture fit for a Pope:

Image

The Pope's Pear

It is designed to be heated and inserted up a certain part of a woman's anatomy.
It is also perfect to be shoved up the"kyber".
em hotep

Image

Robert Tobin Minister, First Church of Atheism (Philidelphia)
"May Your God Go WIth You"
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