Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican secretary of state and two other senior Holy See officials have been accused of crimes against humanity by victims of sex abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, reports the Guardian.The accusers have lodged a formal complaint with the International Criminal Court. Their complaint declares that the above cohort failed to punish or prevent rape and sexual abuse at the hands of priests. It also accuses the Vatican of concealing sexual crimes around the world.
According to Forbes, the ICC’s prosecutor has received over 9,000 requests to open an enquiry into sexual abuse by church officials since the organisation was founded in 2002.
The publication also noted that since the Vatican was not a member state of the court, the court’s prosecutor has no jurisdiction there. However, the court may deem that since the abuse occurred in countries around the world, it has the authority to address the case.
Previously, the Vatican has issued apologies and mass compensation to victims of sex abuse. Several priests have also been removed as a result of complaints.