Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Could the Pope be arrested in Britain?

"Two recent news stories raise the question of whether or not Pope Benedict XVI could potentially face criminal charges if he proceeds with his trip the the United Kingdom later in the year," writes Michael in Norfolk. "The first is from the Los Angeles Times and raises the issue why the Vatican and specifically the Pope should not be afforded immunity as a sovereign nation/head of state. The reality is that the Roman Catholic Church is a religion, not a sovereign nation, and that the Vatican does not meet the definition generally applied to what constitutes a nation within the meaning of international law. As such, the Pope should not be allowed to claim immunity from prosecution because he is a head of state. The second story was in the Sunday Times of London and focuses upon the planned effort of Richard Dawkins to have Benedict XVI arrested when he arrives in Britain in September - unless, of course, Benedict cancels the trip. Before looking at the two stories, it is helpful to look at some self-explanatory legal definitions of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and molestation within the criminal law context. READ MORE