Vatican response to allegation that Church 'shielded war criminal'

 Yesterday afternoon, the Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls issued the following statement in response to an article in the Daily Telegraph on 20 September with the headline: "Vatican accused of shielding 'war criminal'". The article contained accusations that the Vatican was protecting General Ante Gotovina, suspected of having committed war crimes during the conflict in former Yugoslavia. Navarro-Valls said: "During the meeting between Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States, and Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, in response to her request for information and support, Archbishop Lajolo made it clear that the Secretariat of State is not an organ of the Holy See that can collaborate institutionally with the tribunals. "Archbishop Lajolo also requested Ms Del Ponte to specify with some precision the evidence leading her to believe that General Ante Gotovina had taken refuge in certain religious buildings in Croatia, in order to be able to enter into contact with the competent ecclesiastical authorities; earlier investigations had, in fact, yielded negative results. Archbishop Lajolo's request has not yet received any response from Ms Del Ponte." Source: VIS

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