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Pope Benedict XVI Photo by: AP

Irish abuse reports at center of case to have Pope Benedict charged with crimes against humanity

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Pope Benedict XVI Photo by: AP

Reports on the extent and nature of clerical sex abuse in Ireland have formed one of core parts of a new complaint lodged against Pope Benedict XVI by two US victims advocacy groups.

The complaint was then lodged at the International Criminal Court in the Hague last week.

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and the Center for Constitutional Rights then visited Ireland at the weekend where a spokesperson confirmed their complaint contained Irish reports, including the Cloyne report and the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny's speech about Vatican's apparent indifference which he made in July.

'Ireland really led the way in helping us have an understanding of how this works and identifying all the practices that are used in different dioceses around the world that have continued and enabled the sexual violence,' Pamela Spees, human rights lawyer, told the Irish Times.

The groups 20,000-page dossier will attempt to hold both the Holy See and the pope legally responsible for decades of abuse by priests in multiple countries.

'When you look at it all together, it really does set out very clearly that everyone is conforming to policy. There is a lot for them to look at and we hope they look at it carefully,' Spees added.

The founding member of SNAP, US clerical abuse survivor Peter Isley, told the Times that the extensive details in the Irish reports are stunning. On reading them, he said, it would be hard to imagine the Vatican won't eventually be brought before an international criminal court.

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'It is really hard to overestimate how victims in the United States are watching and applauding survivors and the Government here and others in making truly historic change,' Isley added.

'Somewhere in the world an international authority aside from the Vatican has to start looking at these crimes,' he continued.

The survivors groups will now wait to see whether the International court will take on the case. Some commentators have speculated it was unlikely to since many of the crimes took place before 2002.

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