Details, from the AP:
Clergy sex abuse victims upset that no high-ranking Roman Catholic leaders have been prosecuted for sheltering guilty priests brought their claims Tuesday to the International Criminal Court, seeking an investigation of the pope and top Vatican cardinals for possible crimes against humanity.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based nonprofit legal group, requested the inquiry on behalf of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, arguing that the global church has maintained a “long-standing and pervasive system of sexual violence” despite promises to swiftly oust predators.
The odds against the court opening an investigation are enormous. The prosecutor has received nearly 9,000 independent proposals for inquiries since 2002, when the court was created as the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal, and has never opened a formal investigation based solely on such a request.
Instead, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has investigated crimes such as genocide, murder, rape and conscripting child soldiers in conflicts from Darfur to this year’s violence in Libya. Such cases have been referred to the court by the countries where the atrocities were perpetrated or by the United Nations Security Council.
Also, the Holy See is not a member state of the court, meaning prosecutors have no automatic jurisdiction there, although the complaint covers alleged abuse in countries around the world, many of which do recognize the court’s jurisdiction.
However, attorneys for the Survivors Network argued that no other national entity exists that will prosecute high-level Vatican officials who failed to protect children. In the U.S., no Roman Catholic bishop has been criminally charged for keeping accused clergy in parish jobs without warning parents or police. Within the church, only the pope can discipline bishops. The few who have been publicly punished by the Vatican have been sanctioned for molesting children, not for negligence in supervising priests.