A support organization for victims of sexual abuse by priests denounced the Vatican, including the pope and cardinals three important, to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity.
The Survivors Network of Persons Abused by Priests (SNAP) filed the complaint considering that Vatican officials participated in the "widespread and systematic coverup of rape and sexual crimes" against children around the world, notes in a statement.
Florence Olara, a spokeswoman for the Prosecutor of the ICC, based in The Hague, confirmed that his office has received the documents and analyze as they do with all communications, so as to "make a decision in due time" .
The text of the lawsuit cites as persons who "may be considered to have the greatest responsibility" to Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (Vatican Secretary of State), Angelo Sodano (its predecessor) and William Levada (Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith).
The lawsuit was filed by members of SNAP in Germany, Belgium, Holland and USA.
"The crimes committed against tens of thousands of victims, most of them children, remain hidden by higher level officials in the Vatican," the note said lawyer Pamela Spees, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR, an NGO U.S. law).
Therefore, Spees said those responsible "have been to prosecute the same way as with any other officers guilty of crimes against humanity."
For its part, the president of SNAP, Barbara Blaine, said that the victims are "mobilizing all over the planet", so invite others similarly situated "to join our action."
According to the victims, the ICC's jurisdiction establishes rape, violent assault and torture as crimes against humanity.
Therefore calls for an investigation into the Vatican for alleged individual responsibility for some of its officials who were responsible for the direct perpetrators "of sexual offenses.
It would be "the first time an international court declared its jurisdiction over the Vatican for crimes committed by their representatives around the world," the organization said.
SNAP, an organization created 23 years ago in the United States and almost 10 000 members, said that church authorities themselves have acknowledged that country almost 6 000 priests have been publicly accused of sexually abusing children over the past decades and an estimated 100 000 victims have been children in the U.S. alone.
The organization also announced today the start of a European tour that will go on to Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, London, Dublin, Warsaw, Madrid and finally Rome, where the next day 20 is planning a ceremony at the gates the Vatican.