The Common Good

Kenyan Lawyer on Quixotic Quest to Nullify Trial of Jesus

The conviction of Jesus by Pontius Pilate may be the most famous court verdict ever — and perhaps the most consequential, since it led to Christ’s crucifixion and the founding of a global religion.

Dola Indidis is petitioning the International Court of Justice to nullify Jesus’
Dola Indidis is petitioning the International Court of Justice to nullify Jesus’ conviction. Photo via RNS.

Take Action on This Issue

Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

Now a Kenyan lawyer wants to overturn Pilate’s decision, though he wants to keep the faith that flowed from it.

“The selective and malicious prosecution (of Jesus) violated his human rights,” said Dola Indidis, a Roman Catholic who is petitioning the International Court of Justice, based at The Hague, to nullify Jesus’ conviction and death sentence.

Indidis, a former spokesman for the Kenyan judiciary, accuses Pilate, who was the Roman governor of Judea, of “judicial misconduct, abuse of office, bias and prejudice.”

That may well be the case, at least in the view of believers and many Bible scholars. But getting a court to rule on a 2,000-year-old case from an outlying province in a long-defunct empire will not be easy.

Indidis first brought his case before the Kenyan High Court in Nairobi in 2007, but the court refused to hear it, saying it lacked jurisdiction.

Now he is turning to the International Court of Justice, often referred to as the World Court, which is best known for ruling on territorial disputes between members of the United Nations.

Officials at The Hague would not confirm or deny that they have received a petition.

But Indidis seems undeterred and points to the example of Joan of Arc, the 15th-century saint who led the French to major victories against the English before she was captured and burned at the stake. A quarter-century after Joan’s death her conviction was overturned by a papal court, and in 1920 she was canonized.

Indidis’ petition has surprised Christian leaders in Kenya. The Rev. Maloba Wesonga, a spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi, said the exercise was futile, at least from a theological point of view.

“As we know it, the trial had to happen,” said Wesonga. “We must understand that Jesus was not vulnerable and nobody can do justice to God.”

Fredrick Nzwili writes for Religion News Service. Via RNS.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)