The UK government is said to have set in motion a law change that will prevent the Pope from being arrested when he visits the country in September.
Officials in Whitehall – the UK government’s administrative offices – are said to be worried over plans by the atheist authors Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens to have Pope Benedict arrested for crimes against humanity, because of his alleged cover-up of priestly assaults on children.
“Mr Dawkins, the atheist campaigner, and Mr Hitchens, an atheist author, asked human rights lawyers in April to put together a case for charging the Pope over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic church,” reports Pink News today.
Its report adds: “Justice Secretary Ken Clarke proposed changes to the law today which would require the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions to any arrest warrant issued under universal jurisdiction.” The Pope’s proposed visit has ever been free of controversy since it was announced last year.
A recent suggestion by the Pope’s second-in-command, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, that child abuse and paedophilia were connected with homosexuality brought condemnation even from fellow Catholics in the UK...
Pink News quotes Justice Secretary Clarke as saying of the law change: “Our commitment to our international obligations and to ensuring that there is no impunity for those accused of crimes of universal jurisdiction is unwavering.
“It is important, however, that universal-jurisdiction cases should be proceeded with in this country only on the basis of solid evidence that is likely to lead to a successful prosecution – otherwise there is a risk of damaging our ability to help in conflict resolution or to pursue a coherent foreign policy.
“The government has concluded, after careful consideration, that it would be appropriate to require the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before an arrest warrant can be issued to a private prosecutor in respect of an offence of universal jurisdiction.”Full article here.