Some senior Vatican officials were undermining the Pope's support for an international criminal court, former Federal Minister for Justice Michael Tate claimed at a Tasmanian seminar last week.
    Mr Tate, who is currently studying for the Catholic priesthood, said: "The Pope has strongly supported the creation of a permanent court to deal with crimes against humanity.
    "This is totally contradicted by some senior church men who want the United Kingdom government to allow Gen. Pinochet to return to Chile.
    "After all, he is accused of organising the torture of political opponents, one of the gravest of international crimes.
    "The trial in Spain should be allowed to go ahead so that personal criminal responsibility can be sheeted home for any crime proved to have been committed by Gen. Pinochet.
    "Perhaps at the sentencing stage, the Vatican could enter a plea in mitigation of the sentence but not before then."
    Turning to the Kosovo crisis, Mr Tate said: "Part of any peace settlement in Kosovo must be that those guilty of systematic rape of Muslim women, and the killing of innocent civilians, be brought before the International Tribunal in The Hague.
    "The Catholic Church should be clear and unwavering in its support for this process."
    Mr Tate said this ambivalence over Gen. Pinochet was just a symptom of the huge transition in the Catholic Church's attitude to a range of life and death issues.

1:34pm 19/4/99 / Catholic Communications Adelaide


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