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The ICC: Sodano’s Child

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Now that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has become a reality with the ratification of the ICC statute by more than the required 60 nations, it would be well to remember the support given to the birth of this monster by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State.

Back in 1998 Fides news agency reported that "The nations of the world have agreed to set up an International Criminal Court to judge war crimes and crimes against humanity. After a Conference attended by representatives of 160 countries, including the Holy See, 120 states signed the agreement on Friday July 17th." It was this agreement, the Rome Statute, that has since been ratified by more than 60 countries, giving rise to the ICC as a functioning reality.

Back then, Fides noted that "The Court comprising at least 18 judges, experts in criminal and international law, each with a nine year mandate and all of different nations, will have an independent prosecutor who can open an investigation or prosecution on his or her own initiative…. The agreement was reached only after a hard struggle. At one point there was opposition from the five member nations of the UN Security Council. There was disagreement about the scope and jurisdiction for three core crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes…" These disagreements were well-founded, because the ICC, like all bureaucracies, will inevitably seek to expand its power and authority to try citizens of all nations for an ever-expanding list of "crimes against humanity."

Fides notes that "The Pope, on the eve of the [1998] Conference, expressed the Church’s support for the setting up of a Court to defend the inalienable rights of the human person. Archbishop Renato Martino, Holy See Permanent Observer to the Untied Nations, said the Court’s governing mandate, the Statute of Rome, ‘is not perfect but was the best we could do, given the circumstances’." Martino works for Sodano, and the Pope’s expression of support for the ICC was no doubt drafted by Sodano’s apparatus. Notice that Martino says that the ICC statute was the best that "we" can do - meaning that the Vatican apparatus was directly involved in the creation of the monster, rather than opposing it.

According to Fides, "Positive for Martino, is the exclusion of the death penalty among the sentences open to the Court, as requested by the Holy See. The Vatican had hoped that other crimes such as trafficking of drugs or arms would be included: this is still possible." Incredibly enough, "the Holy See" - meaning Cardinal Sodano - was seeking to add to the list of crimes subject to ICC jurisdiction even before the ICC got off the ground! What sort of madness is this?

The Fides report notes further that "The Holy See had also expressed doubts about the term ‘enforced pregnancy’. In its final statement the Conference defined the term, listed under Crimes against humanity as follows: (f) ‘Forced pregnancy’ means the unlawful confinement, of a woman forcibly made pregnant, with the intent of affecting the ethnic composition of any population or carrying out other grave violations of international law. This definition shall not in any way be interpreted as affecting national laws relating to pregnancy."

That’s what the definition says now, but as we know from bitter experience, definitions are very elastic and changeable things in the hands of secular courts. The real question is why the Vatican would lend its support to the creation of an international super-court from whose judgments there will be no appeal - a court composed of judges who despise the Catholic Church and hate the West. What happened to the natural right to be judged by an impartial tribunal of one’s peers, as opposed to one’s religious and ideological enemies? How can the Vatican apparatus be so naïve as to think that this "international", non-Christian court will be anything but a threat to the rights of Catholics - a supra-national version of the same godless judiciaries which have imposed a regime of abortion on demand and which persecute pro-life demonstrators as if they were criminals?

When the ICC court begins to encroach upon the rights of Catholics, when "cases" calling for the indictment of the Pope and the bishops are lodged with this godless tribunal, remember one of the many Doctor Frankensteins who helped bring the monster to life: the Vatican’s own Cardinal Angelo Sodano.