Did authorities send out an arrest warrant for Pope Francis on November 1, 2021? No, that's not true: There is no evidence that an arrest warrant for Pope Francis has been issued, that he is going to court for crimes against humanity or that he could be imprisoned any time soon. This is a completely fictional claim.
The claim appeared in a YouTube video (archived here) published by the "Kevin A" channel on October 31, 2021, under the title "Arrest Order issued against Pope Francis; Reward and Amnesty offered as trial set to begin." The video opens:
Hello, this is Kevin Annett, Eagle Strong Voice. It's November the first 2021. I've just received a very important breaking news announcement from the International Common Law Court of Justice. This is going out all over the world today. It's concerning an arrest warrant that's been issued against so-called Pope Francis Jorge Bergoglio ...
Click below to watch the video on YouTube:
The five-minute video consists of Annett reading from a press release supposedly coming from the International Common Law Court of Justice. The press release claims the pope has committed crimes against humanity and that the reward for the pope's arrest is $10,000.
The International Common Law Court of Justice (ICLCJ) is not the same as the International Court of Justice, the United Nations judicial branch, adjudicates disputes between member states. The ICLCJ is a fictional entity.
Lead Stories has found no evidence of a lawyer claiming to have worked for the ICLCJ in the past or present.
Its website says the ICLCJ was "founded as a lawful Citizens' Tribunal of Conscience on September 15, 2012 in Brussels." However, Brussels, the capital of Belgium, does not practice common law. And because "Belgian law does not recognise the common law concept of precedent" judges aren't subject to "decisions by higher courts."
Rather, their legal system is based on Napoleonic code, or Roman law, similar to the laws the French used in 1804. Common law originated in England in the Middle Ages and still is practiced in Canada (excluding Quebec), the United States (on state and territorial levels excluding Louisiana and Puerto Rico), Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and many other locations.
A Google search of the words "Pope Francis arrest warrant" found no authoritative sources confirming this claim. This is also not the first time Annett has made the claim that there is an arrest warrant out for Pope Francis. In 2013, he said so using another creation, the International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State (ITCCS). Here is an archived page of that claim.
Now, Annett has merged the ICLCJ and the ITCCS into one website, Murder by Decree, which he calls a solely "community-funded movement." Lead Stories could not find any other funding sources for Murder by Decree. Here is an archived version of an announcement about his made-up court system.
Annett was formerly a minister for the United Church of Canada before being removed in 1997 for showing "troubling behaviors." Since being fired, he has made "totally false and slanderous statements about the church and particularly about anyone associated with his removal," the Church wrote.
Lead Stories has debunked fabricated stories by Annett before. For example, here, when there was no evidence found that royals were hunting children for fun, and here, when Queen Elizabeth was not found guilty in a murder case involving missing children.