Atheists Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens want Pope Benedict XVI arrested and charged with crimes against humanity for his alleged cover up of child abuse in the Catholic church when he visits Britain in September, however with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US president George Bush managing to escape war crimes is it possible that powerful leaders will ever be held accountable for their actions?
Very few people will be unaware of the latest scandal engulfing the Catholic church in relation to numerous child abuse revelations and more disturbingly the cover-ups the church initiated to protect the paedophiles and its reputation.
Well known atheist Richard Dawkins along with Christopher Hitchens have called for people to arrest Pope Benedict XVI when he comes to Britain in September. They argue that the evidence indicates the pope conspired to cover-up allegations of abuse and should be arrested like any other child abuser.
The Vatican responded to these allegations by stating that the pope was immune from prosecution because he is a head of state.
Whatever people’s views on this issue it raises serious questions about leaders who are not held accountable for their crimes.
Blair, Bush and war crimes
Civil rights groups and independent lawyers have been making the case that former U.S. President George Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair should be indicted for war crimes.
In a report by Julian Ryall in Tokyo, for aljazeera.net, on Monday, 7 March 2005, a lawyers panel made up of legal experts from around the world said that both Bush and Blair deserved to serve at least one life sentence in jail for war crimes and genocide in Iraq before any chance of parole was offered.
Bush responded to international law by withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC) and refusing to accept its authority, also imposing exemptions for US soldiers and high ranking officers from prosecution.
Bush also threatened to withdraw aid from countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans if they voted to allow American soldiers to be tried for war crimes.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has also avoided criminal prosecution for his role in the Iraq War despite a supposedly independent public enquiry.
There is clear evidence the war in Iraq was about western energy corporations securing Iraqi oil fields.
In an article by Phillip Thornton and Andrew Gumbel for the Independent newspaper on the 22 September, 2003, it was found that Iraq’s Finance Minister, Kamel al-Gailani had drafted Iraq’s economic policies under the approval of both the US and UK governments.
The economic policies approved by the US and UK governments included 100% foreign ownership in all sectors of Iraq’s economy.
According to scientific journal, The Lancet, 650,000 Iraqis have died since the invasion in 2003, and with the evidence that the war was fought to maintain western control of Iraqi oil this is international terrorism by definition and a war crime, however the perpetrators are still at large and have little chance of ever standing trial for their crimes.
It is unlikely that the pope, Bush or Blair will be indicted for crimes for the simple reason that it would set a dangerous precedent that any leader, in any country could be arrested, a reality that the powerful leaders will not accept under any circumstances.
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