LSE public lecture
Date: Wednesday 8 September 2010
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speaker: Geoffrey Robertson
Chair: Dr Chaloka Beyani
The Case of the Pope delivers a devastating indictment of the way the Vatican has run a secret legal system that has shielded paedophile priests from criminal trial around the world. Is the Pope morally responsible or legally liable under domestic or international law for the negligence that has allowed so many terrible crimes to go unpunished? Should he and his seat of power, the Holy See, continue to enjoy an immunity that places them above the law? To what extent do Vatican dogmas conflict with human rights treatise, and why has the United Nations allowed this church – alone of religions and NGOs – a privileged platform to promote them?
Geoffrey Robertson QC demonstrates a deep respect for the good works of Catholics and their church. But, he argues, unless Pope Benedict XVI can divest himself of the beguilements of statehood and devotion to obsolete canon law, the Vatican will remain in grave breach of the convention on the Right of the Child and in some other respects, an enemy of human rights.
This event marks the publication of Geoffrey Robertson's new book The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse.
Geoffrey Robertson QC is founder and head of Doughty Street Chambers, the largest human rights practice in the UK. He has appeared in the courts of many countries as counsel in leading cases in constitutional, criminal and international law and served as the first President of the UN War Crimes Court in Sierra Leone, where he authored a landmark decision on the illegality of recruiting child soldiers. He has saved many death row prisoners from execution in common wealth countries, defended in the last two cases brought for blasphemy in Britain (against Salman Rushdie and Gay News), represented Catholic lawyers and youth workers detained without trial in Singapore and was counsel in Bowman v United Kingdom, which established the right of Catholics to campaign effectively against abortion laws during elections.
He sits as a recorder, and is a master of Middle Temple and a visiting Professor of Human Rights Law at Queen Mary College, London. In 2008, he was appointed as a distinguished jurist member of the UN's Justice Council. His books include Crimes Against Humanity: The Struggle for Global Justice, a memoir, The Justice Game and The Tyrannicide Brief, an award winning study of the trial of Charles I.
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