Abuse survivors accuse Pope of crimes against humanity

The Pope and three top Vatican officials have been accused of crimes against humanity in a formal declaration lodged with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Pope and three top Vatican officials have been accused of crimes against humanity in a formal declaration lodged with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

A group representing survivors of clerical sexual abuse has alleged Pope Benedict and the officials "tolerated and enabled the systematic and widespread concealing of rape and child sex crimes".

The New York-based rights group the Centre for Constitutional Rights and the group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests lodged the papers with the ICC in the Hague today.

However it is not clear whether the the ICC, the world's first permanent war crimes court, will take on the case as it lacks jurisdiction over the Vatican.

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