A leading abuse survivor has suggested the Vatican had breached international law over the child sex abuse scandals.
Colm O'Gorman also said he believes it is "technically possible" for Pope Benedict to be arrested when he visits the UK later this year.
At the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts in Wales, Mr O'Gorman claimed the Vatican was implicated in grave crimes.
"There are moves on foot to start to look to international law, although I'm not quite sure how that may work out, to secure his (Pope Benedict) arrest," he said.
"I do think that that arrest in a country where the rule of universal jurisdiction and international law is perhaps more robustly applied than others is a distinct possibility. It is technically possible - it may well happen."
Mr O'Gorman, also executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, said the Vatican, as a state, was in violation of international law on several grounds.
"First of all, it is a signature of the UN convention on the rights of children, it is in flagrant violation of that legal instrument," he said.
"When it comes to torture and the sexual abuse and violation of children - this considered in legal terms as tantamount to torture - the Vatican is clearly implicated in grave breaches of international law and grave crimes.
"This is a global government, a global state, that tries to make out that it has no responsibility for the cover-up of those crimes against children; for the prevention of those crimes against children; or for the protection of children; and yet is responsible for the education and welfare of millions of children - and that is terrifying."