Tuesday, December 13, 2005

timely papal message on peace

Benedict’s message for World Day of Peace (usually celebrated on January 1st), which was released today, couldn’t be more timely, in light of the report released today by Swiss senator Dick Marty that the CIA abducted and illegally transported terror suspects across European borders.

The implication here is that with secret prisons abroad, suspects could be interrogated without reference to international law: including the law prohibiting torture, banned under the Geneva Convention. The report by Marty was prepared for the 46-member Council of Europe, the continent's human rights watchdog.

In his message entitled “In Truth, Peace,” Benedict said that “As a means of limiting the devastating consequences of war as much as possible, especially for civilians, the international community has created an international humanitarian law. In a variety of situations and in different settings, the Holy See has expressed its support for this humanitarian law, and has called for it to be respected and promptly implemented, out of the conviction that the truth of peace exists even in the midst of war.” Even in the midst of the war on terror.

He adds that "International humanitarian law ought to be considered as one of the finest and most effective expressions of the intrinsic demands of the truth of peace. Precisely for this reason, respect for that law must be considered binding on all peoples. Its value must be appreciated and its correct application ensured.”

According to the New York Times, Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's Justice and Peace department, told reporters at the presentation of the message that the Pope's words applied to all wars. Asked if Iraq was included, he said: “That's correct.''

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