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Archbishop Gabriele Caccia (CNS/Gregory A Shemitz)

The Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations has told a committee of the world body that “civilian populations continue to be victims of widespread and systematic attacks”. Source: NCR Online

Where there is “credible evidence” of such attacks, “there must be accountability,” he said.

“Crimes against humanity are among the most serious crimes under international law and their prevention and punishment concerns the entire international community,” Archbishop Gabriele Caccia said this week.

He made the remarks in a statement he delivered to the UN General Assembly’s Sixth Committee during its plenary meeting on crimes against humanity.

Attacks against civilian populations “are a reality of our times,” but they are “clearly prohibited under customary international law,” the archbishop said, adding that “the perpetrators of these heinous crimes continue to enjoy impunity.”

“Although crimes against humanity are conceptually distinct from war crimes, we must acknowledge that civilians are particularly at risk wherever war rages,” he said, deploring “massacres, torture, rape and the deliberate, indiscriminate targeting of civilian areas and humanitarian corridors.”

He drew particular attention to the issue of human trafficking.

“Enslavement and the subsequent human trafficking are one of the darkest and most revolting realities in the world today,” he said. “Millions of men, women and children are enslaved, sold and trafficked as part of a systemic attack on civilians.”

“Crimes against humanity affect us all,” Archbishop Caccia continued, stressing the need for stronger international cooperation to prevent these attacks.


At UN, Vatican urges accountability for ‘crimes against humanity’ (CNS via NCR Online)