You may remember reports that Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens intended to arrest the Pope on his next visit to the UK this September. While these initial accounts of the pair's intent to literally ambush and arrest the man themselves was ridiculous. Dawkins and Hitchens, along with human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, legitimately sought to bring charges against the pope for human rights violations following the release of documents which proved the pope had a hand in covering up the actions of several pedophile priests. Including, most infuriatingly of all, a Wisconsin priest who raped 200 deaf children.
It appears this campaign to hold the pope and by proxy the Catholic church responsible for it's actions, seems to have had a real chance at being successful. So real in fact that the UK government has moved to prevent the arrest by altering it's universal jurisdiction laws, according to an article on the website "Sky News HD".
The UK's universal jurisdiction law allows individuals to be prosecuted in the UK for serious offenses such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and torture even if those crimes were carried out abroad without the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Once in effect, the new changes in the law, first proposed by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke, would now require the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before an arrest warrant can be issued to a private prosecutor in respect to an offense of universal jurisdiction.
Links and Additional Content
Musician, comedian and skeptic Tim Minchin sums up my feeling on this newest development and the Pope in general with the following song. Incidentaly, if you've never heard this song before don't worry, it's totally appropriate for work as well as children and the elderly. So gather your boss your kids and your Nana around the PC and turn it up loud!