Vatican liable for abuse by Catholic clergy worldwide, UN finds. The Vatican immediately denied this interpretation in a statement.
At the end of a regular review in Geneva on Friday, the UN Anti-Torture Committee ruled that a state's responsibility for the actions or omissions of public officials also extends to officials abroad. In its eight-page document, the committee praised the Vatican's dialogue as "open and constructive," but criticized it for submitting its first report on the implementation of the Convention against Torture nine years late. The Holy See had acceded to the Convention in 2002. The UN committee also viewed positively the alignment of criminal law in Vatican City State with international norms, as well as the establishment of an abuse commission by Pope Francis in December.
Disagreement remains between the Holy See and the UN over the scope of the convention. In the view of the Anti-Torture Committee, the agreement covers "all members of the public service or persons acting in an official capacity.". The rapporteur in the expert committee, Felice Gaer, had already pointed this out during the discussion with the Vatican delegation on 5 December. and 6. May pointed out in Geneva.
The Vatican, on the other hand, continued to maintain in its statement Friday that the convention's obligations extend to the 55-hectare Vatican City State and, more specifically, to employees of the Roman Curia, diplomatic personnel, Holy See institutions and judicial employees. It also questioned whether pedophilic acts fell under the definition of torture.
Overall, the Vatican sees itself confirmed in its line. The U.N. committee attested to the church leadership's "serious and substantial reforms" in line with the anti-torture convention, the statement said. It also recognizes the practice of compensating victims. The Vatican highlighted as welcome that its fight against abortion was not considered a violation of the convention, referring to the accusation that it was limiting women's rights through its position.
The UN committee's paper explicitly acknowledges the Vatican's criminal action against pedophile priests. For example, according to church figures, between 2004 and 2013, 848 clerics were transferred to lay status and 2.572 has been punished with other penalties. At the same time, however, the experts demanded concrete data on how often the judiciary of other states was called in. Already in the case of concrete allegations of abuse, a provisional suspension must take place. transfers of accused persons are to be monitored by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, all suspicious cases are to be reported to secular authorities as well.
Clear rules for judicial cooperation called for
The committee expressed concern about reports that church leaders failed to report sex crimes to secular authorities, moved assaulted clergy to other dioceses even more recently, or, in a 2013 case in Australia, refused to release documents to an abuse investigation commission. The Vatican must create clear rules for judicial cooperation and ensure that requests for cooperation are answered quickly, it said.
He said the child protection commission set up by Francis has so far lacked clear powers. It is also uncertain to what extent she will be able to publish the results of investigations, the committee said. The Vatican should create an independent complaints body with the possibility of cooperation from non-church authorities. With regard to compensation for victims, the UN panel criticized attempts to extract assets of dioceses or religious orders from the liability pool.
The next regular review is due in May 2018. By 23. In May 2015, the Vatican is to present an interim report on, among other things, the handling of abuse suspects and the ie of victim compensation.