Kenyan Man Tries to Overturn the Death Sentence of Jesus Christ

Kenyan lawyer Dola Indidis is on a mission: to get the International Court of Justice at the Hague to overturn the conviction and death sentence of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago.

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Tony Gentile/REUTERS

Priests stand in front of a crucifix as Pope Francis leads a mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on May 19, 2013

Kenyan lawyer Dola Indidis is on a mission: to get the International Court of Justice at the Hague to overturn the conviction and death sentence of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago.

The logistics, however, are proving a challenge. The target of his lawsuit are the government and religious leaders of Jesus’ day, including the Roman Emperor Tiberius, the Roman King Herod, the Judean Governor Pontius Pilate, as well as the Jewish chief priest, elders and teachers of the law. According to some reports, he also plans to go after the current governments of Italy and Israel, arguing that they inherited laws from the Roman Empire.

“I filed the case because it’s my duty to uphold the dignity of Jesus and I have gone to the ICJ to seek justice for the man from Nazareth,” Indidis told the Nairobian. “His selective and malicious prosecution violated his human rights through judicial misconduct, abuse of office bias and prejudice.”

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As a matter of law, Indidis’ efforts will fail. Indidis tried to bring the case to the High Court of Kenya in 2007, but the court refused to hear it, citing a lack of jurisdiction. For the International Court of Justice, it would be impossible to even consider the case, much less rule on it. Anthea Roberts, professor of law at Columbia Law School, explains:

When it comes to contentious cases, the International Court of Justice only has jurisdiction to hear claims that are brought by one state against another state. As this claim is not brought by a state, the ICJ would lack jurisdiction over it. Even if the claim were to be brought by a state, it also needs to be brought against a state, which does not seem to be the case here. And, even then, the two states will need to have consented to the ICJ having jurisdiction to hear the type of case in question … In this case, it is not clear what international law might have been violated and, even if there was such a violation, it is not clear that the relevant states have consented to the ICJ having jurisdiction over the dispute.

But that has not stopped Indidis, who appears to remain confident. He has a Facebook page asking for donations in support of his cause. He posted a picture of his Law Society of Kenya identification card, as well as a letter dated December 2011 when he first tried to take the case to the Hague. “Together we can win,” he wrote. “Yes we can.”

Ironically, the legal case of Christ began with questions of legal jurisdiction. According to the New Testament narrative, Jesus had been disturbing the social norms by performing miracles and challenging local authorities. Jewish leaders arrested him during Passover on charges of blasphemy because he claimed to be the Son of God. They brought Jesus before Pilate, who claimed he did not have jurisdiction in the case and sent him to King Herod, who sent him back to Pilate. Pilate told the people, “I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him … I will therefore have him flogged and release him.” Crowds of people called for Jesus to be crucified, and Pilate gave in. Jesus was then crucified alongside two criminals.

(MORE: Is Reza Aslan Anti-Christian?)

As oddball as the case may be, Indidis’ effort does raise a larger theological question that Christians have long debated: Why did Jesus have to die? Theologians have argued that his death was required for salvation to actually happen and that it was important for Jesus, who claimed to be the Messiah, the God-man, to experience human suffering and death.

TIME devoted a cover story to that question in 2004, when Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ premiered. Theories of atonement, the theological term for the meaning of Jesus’ death, have varied throughout Christian history, and the story is a deep dive into how the doctrine of atonement changed over time:

What was the cosmic reason for his agony? What is its purpose, its divine calculus? How precisely does his death, usually referred to in this context as the atonement, lead to the salvation of humanity?

The atonement “is the centerpiece of Christianity, and it’s what distinguishes it from all other religions,” says Giles Gasper, a religious historian who has written a book about one of the topic’s great medieval interpreters. Without at least an intuitive comprehension of atonement, a believer stands little chance of making sense of the faith’s promises of redemption and eternal life.

It is a question believers will continue to ponder. But as the Apostle Paul explained, in the New Testament’s Book of Romans, the atonement comes with rewards: “If we have been united with [Christ] in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

MORE: Jesus’ Wife Matters a Lot — and Not at All

191 comments
Kuildeous
Kuildeous

Well, I guess this is a better use of his time than feeding the homeless, clothing children, or anything else that's remotely useful.

DrLeoRebello
DrLeoRebello

Technically the Kenyan Lawyer Dola Indidis is on firm grounds. Because, a criminal case has no time limit and a grave wrong in particular, which perpetuates even today makes his case sound with 'God as his Witness'.

Jesus' murder was a preplanned murder by the corrupt Jews, because Jesus had driven them out of holy temples and broken their benches (the word bankrupt has come from banco roto - bench broken, out of business). Similarly, the Governor had no jurisdiction and Jesus was mercilessly allowed to be flogged and crucified -- a grave sentence meant for hard core criminals, when Jesus was a social reformer and radical humanist.   Nothing has changed for 2013 years. Jews are still carrying on their dastardly acts. Some of those inhuman laws are still being followed especially by Israel against Palestinians. For example, they arrest the innocents, incarcerate even children in jails for long without trial, women are abused, the prisoners are tortured in jail and/or killed for organ harvesting, properties grabbed, usury, etc.

As per the tradition of the old testament (Jewish history) the progeny always pays for the sins of their fathers. Compensation apart, the draconian/anti-human laws have to change.   Hence, the International Court of Justice indeed has jurisdiction, not only for the preplanned murder of Jesus, but also because of the continuing crime which hinders the progress of humanity.  

Onward with your fight, Advocate Dola Indidis. I am with you on principles. I do not mind becoming a co-signatory or representing you. I have been conferred a Scholar's degree in Laws (academic equivalent to LL.D. - Honoris Causa) by the Saint Rene Descartes University of New York and was Justice of Peace in Bombay for almost two decades.   
Prof. Dr. Leo Rebello

renfieldc
renfieldc

Any witnesses other than god?

jrpacelegal
jrpacelegal

FOR THE RECORD.  I just wish to point out, in this Article about the Kenyan Lawyer who wants to overturn the court judgement leading to Christ's crucifixion, that Herod was  a Judean Tetrarch (though it may be ok to colloquially call him 'king') (he was not 'Roman'), whilst Pontius Pilate was the  Roman (not Judean)  Governor of Judea. I think the editor must ave spotted those errors after publication. Legally, the Kenyan Lawyer's cause  stands no chance today, but it is a 'fact' that the whole trial of Jesus was a travesty of all that we understand today by justice, human rights and the rule of law.  For a  start, Pilate ordered his flogging straight after declaring he found Jesus innocent!

labman57
labman57

Trying to envision a courtroom scene involving litigation in which Jesus is the plaintiff.


Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase:
"As God is my witness ..."

TraceyReevesAvery
TraceyReevesAvery

Call me crazy, but wasn't Jesus' death an important part of the story?

Tero
Tero

Wow, what a total waste of time. Both the lawyer's and mine. Thanks for another, religious, non-story, Time... shouldn't you be finding another reason to put jesus on your cover yet again?

BrettNelms
BrettNelms

“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.   I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. Matthew 5:25-26

J___T
J___T

Law is created (and justice depicted as blind) so that neither popular opinion nor its hyped-up extreme of mob justice rules the day.  The United States Constitution is so great because it exists in large part to protect the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority.  As much as we talk about democracy and freedom, it is respect for equal rights that is what is truly at the heart of what has long been great about America to Americans and to its example around the world, and what America has continued to struggle to live up to, given the inherent ironies of who was excluded from those rights at its founding.

To all those mocking various aspects of this story or religion in general, you miss the point.  Societies need to have discussions about what to do when one person's rights or freedoms infringe upon another's.  Jesus was not a Christian, He was a Jew, and explicitly discussed that it was not His intent to start a new religion, but rather to get Judaism back on the right track given how corrupt church leaders of His day had become, and the travesty they made of the INTENT of the laws and the LOVE with which they were meant to be carried out.

Ironic then all the hatred engendered from and toward the religious.  The issues raised by the story of Jesus are relevant today whether you want to look at it as fiction, as history, or as the direct word of God.  Get beyond whether this or that supernatural claim is true and wake up to the lessons we can learn about justice and law, about occupying powers, about the fickle whims of society, about how we treat one another, and about the hatred and vindictiveness we wield upon one another that we blow out of all proportion toward what we believe someone to be "guilty" of.

I often wonder who is further off base: those who adhere to a myopic and dogmatic hard-line religious extremism (in any culture or religious or even political tradition including the one you believe in, even if that's atheism or libertarianism), or those who go out of their way to antagonize them, refuse to accept the role freedom OF religion or freedom FROM religion plays in others' lives.  The ultimate fact is that regardless of what beliefs we hold or express (peacefully), we must learn to live together, religious and areligious alike.

ahandout
ahandout

Funny, that those here invest much of their time talking about someone who they believe didn't exist.

Son-ofMan
Son-ofMan

Since there are some of the usual references to Josephus and Tacitus, I'll repost my comment on Josephus, and will add that Tacitus writes almost 90 years after the supposed death of Jesus the Christ and actually refers to someone named Christus, who lived in Rome.

Anyway, the point is that the further one is removed from the time when the Christ supposedly lived, the more details we get about the physical life of this supposed Savior. Notably, for all the miracles performed, there is ABSOLUTELY no contemporaneous mention of Jesus the Christ anywhere. Period.

Thus it is almost certain that the initial Christ concept was a simple development of the Gnostic notion of a Savior, which was later "embodied" by factions in the Christian sect for political reasons (as in "we have direct mandate from Jesus, while those opposing us do not.")

Again, there is no contemporaneous mention of Jesus - Josephus writes about half a century after his supposed death.

Moreover, it is not true that Josephus provides historical evidence for the Christ: Josephus writes about two dozen different Jesuses in his Antiquities, about some of them in considerable detail -- you would think that the Savior of Mankind would merit a bit more than three sentences.

Yet there are only two incredibly brief mentions of the Christ. Most serious historians consider these brief sentences to be later Christian interpolations -- one of which is even acknowledged as such by the Catholic church.


sacredh
sacredh

Why did God name His only Son after a Cuban baseball player?

heimaeyus
heimaeyus

Then would he not have died for your sins? I'm confused. Also, then christian zealots would stop having to blame Jewish people for "murdering" him?

JamesDegenhardt
JamesDegenhardt

Ok, so if we take Josephus are factual, and validation of Jesus existence, then we must accept that the God of the Bible is not the only God. Homer, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, and Euripedes.all wrote of the existence of the Greek Gods, in addition to all of the historical and archeological evidence.

It must also be noted that while multiple people wrote about Jesus, we have no historical or archeological evidence for or against his life. Now, that could be because he didn't gain significance until after his death (or ascension, depending on belief). But there simply is nothing besides writings that says that he existed. At least, with the Greek Gods, there is actual evidence.

saganhill
saganhill

Since the human race evolved from a common ancestor and the Earth is 4.6 billion years old, Science debunks the whole 6000 year old Earth and the Jesus story of original sin doesn't it.  It's just a myth.

cjh2nd
cjh2nd

what a waste of time, money, and effort

bryangrossman
bryangrossman

I find this incredibly amusing because there is no proof that the man or the event even happened.....

jamesf161
jamesf161

You want turkey. The sentence was in the east of the empire, which later became the byzantine empire, which was overtaken by turks, who formed the ottoman empire, which broke up but is logically succeeded by the capital territory, turkey. They will probably pardon him gladly.

jrpacelegal
jrpacelegal

@Tero  

Tero, The Kenyan Lawyer may be wasting his time, but Time did nothing wrong by reporting and commenting this story. I wonder, friend, does the historical story of Jesus bother you so much? No historical person in the world has inspired, intrigued,  challenged and motivated as many people as Jesus, but He remains a bother for those who have made a mental decision to ignore Him.

Son-ofMan
Son-ofMan

@J___T 

Actually, you miss the point:

there is no more evidence that Jesus the Christ ever existed than there is for Adam, Moses, Zeus, Yahweh, Allah or Father Christmas.

Law should not be based on mythology, otherwise we would live in a very intolerant world, since the very foundations of virtually all religious schemes is based on intolerance: "THOUS SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BUT "X"."

Sure, we live together and all want peace on earth, but based on various nonsensical beliefs, women's rights to control their own bodies are restricted, school curriculums are infused with ideas which are objectively insane, scientific research is impeded, and even foreign aid is subject to religious-based gag rules against the mere mention of family planning.

So please spare us the indignation and if you have some proof for the existence of your deity that the rest of us are unaware of, please provide it.

BielieVanZyl
BielieVanZyl

@Son-ofMan Yeah, they knew that they were lying through their teeth but they were still willing to die for the lie.

Perfectly logical.

jrpacelegal
jrpacelegal

@sacredh  Come on, whose leg are you pulling? What came first, the chicken or the egg?

deesis
deesis

@saganhill 

As Copernicus was a Catholic priest, Galileo a Catholic, Kepler a Protestant as was Newton it is logical to assume the science they saw no contradiction between their religion and science. There have been many theories put forward since ancient times about how old the world is. The Roman thought the world had seven ages. The book of Genesis is pre scientific. Augustine of Hippo wrote on Genesis saying anyone who used scripture to argue a known scientific truth was bringing ridicule on themselves! Thank you for you valid ridicule!!!

DanBruce
DanBruce

@saganhill You don't believe that people have a built-in ability to sin (lie, cheat, steal, murder, etc.)? Then where does it come from, if not from inside them according to your belief system? It has to come from somewhere, either inside or outside the individual. Original sin says that it is built into the individual.

bryangrossman
bryangrossman

@uscgal721 "Many who accept the authenticity of this section of the "Annals" believe that the sentence which declares that Christ was punished in the reign of Pontius Pilate is an interpolation. This sentence bears the unmistakable stamp of Christian forgery. It interrupts the narrative; it disconnects two closely related statements. Eliminate this sentence, and there is no break in the narrative.

In all the Roman records there was no evidence that Christ was put to death by Pontius Pilate. This sentence, if genuine, is the most important evidence in Pagan literature. That it existed in the works of the greatest and best known of Roman historians, and was ignored or overlooked by Christian apologists for 1,360 years, no intelligent critic can believe. 

Tacitus did not write this sentence."

Sorry dear.... you might need to do some of your own research....

bryangrossman
bryangrossman

@uscgal721 "Respected Christian scholar R. T. France, for example, does not believe that the Tacitus passage provides sufficient independent testimony for the existence of Jesus [Franc.EvJ, 23] and agrees with G. A. Wells that the citation is of little value."

So even some christian scholars don't think the passage has any value...

bryangrossman
bryangrossman

@uscgal721 Wow... thanks for the reference....  You gave me a link from an obviously religious site trying to prove there religion by providing so called 'facts".  In the article you provided it mentions a man named 'Edwin Yamauchi' who said "... calls "...probably the most important reference to Jesus outside the New Testament...." in reference to this statement by  the Roman historian Tacitus "... Nero fastened the guilt . . . on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of . . . Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome...."   Note that : "scholars question the passage given that Tacitus was born 25 years after Jesus' death"... Also Edwin Yamauchi is a Christian Apologist...  so of course he would this this is "most important reference to Jesus"....

Also, even if the man did exist, this does not prove in any way that he was "The son of god" or that god even exists.


Deez
Deez

@bryangrossman Proof of the event means nothing. Even if there was a person named Jesus who was crucified and there were many people who believed him to be something special, it really means nothing.

There is historical evidence that there were entire civilizations who believed the Sun to be a god, but that doesn't add validity to the Sun actually being a god, obviously.

crazyskunk82
crazyskunk82

@bryangrossman There is proof that the man and the event both happened.  Roman and Jewish historians from the time period both acknowledge that. 

Piacevole
Piacevole

@jrpacelegal @Tero No "bother" at all.  But the business of trying to retroactively overturn a conviction which resulted in execution of someone alleged to have been immortal, and resurrected three days after the execution is very amusing, indeed.  Cui bono?

jrpacelegal
jrpacelegal

@Son-ofMan @J___T You are entirely free to disbelieve that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but to propose that he never existed is like saying the Holocaust was a  sham, did not happen. You may be more interested in the things , rights ? you mention, but that's your personal agenda. It's a matter of keeping head on shoulders and avoiding going to the extreme the moment 'religion' is mentioned as if it is taboo. A person is  free to believe he does not have a soul, but will change nothing from the reality.


deesis
deesis

@Son-ofMan @J___T 

I think you have missed the point. The question is whether or not Jesus was convicted in a Roman Court?

Son-ofMan
Son-ofMan

@BielieVanZyl @Son-ofMan

Oh, no. Stupid, delusional people are willing to die for all sorts of pointless purposes.

Other people, like Eusebius and Origen, who are credited with some of the more egregious forgeries ("interpolations") chose a different path (actually, Eusebius was an Arian, but knew how to keep friendly with Constantine, so he did not have to die for his beliefs).

bryangrossman
bryangrossman

@uscgal721 ... wow.. she deleted her comment.... so much for her convictions in her belief....  my intent was not to scare her away but to debate the 'facts' she provided.... oh well.

BrettNelms
BrettNelms

@bryangrossman @uscgal721 God does not point you to a scholar to teach you about himself.  Sure some may expound on their experiences and help bring cohesiveness between the Old Testament and New Testament due to their experience.  

John 6: 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 

mitchellglaser
mitchellglaser

No they don't. There is no mention of Jebus until  many generations after his supposed life. And beside, there are thousands of people who swear hey have seen Bigfoot, and that doesn't make him real.

bryangrossman
bryangrossman

@crazyskunk82 @bryangrossman Please provide the names of these historians....  From the time period...  Aren't those the same folks that believed the earth was flat?   What.. what time period are we talking about again? 

Son-ofMan
Son-ofMan

@jrpacelegal @Son-ofMan @J___T 

It's NOT a matter of belief, but of evidence.

There is NO contemporaneous evidence for the historicity of Jesus the Christ. Just like there is no NO evidence for the existence of the Tooth Fairy.


The earliest mentions of Christ date at least half a century after his supposed death and these are widely acknowledged as later interpolations.


If there was really a historical figure who gathered large crowds, fed them all with a couple of fish and walked on water, you would think that there would be a bit more interest in him by his contemporaries.


Really, if you know even a little about the period when Christianity arose, you would understand why a Gnostic-like Christ figure was the most likely origin of Christianity, fleshed out only during the power struggles within the early Christian community between the Second and the Fourth centuries.

Piacevole
Piacevole

Just so, a person is free to believe that he DOES have a soul, but this makes no comment on reality.  It's merely a belief.  Reality is independent of belief.

Piacevole
Piacevole

@jrpacelegal @Son-ofMan @BielieVanZyl They are nonetheless dead, right?  And the Muslim martyrs are nonetheless dead, too, not to mention the Jewish victims.  Their deaths make no comment on the reality of their beliefs, or lack thereof.

jrpacelegal
jrpacelegal

@Son-ofMan @BielieVanZyl  It seems Son-ofMan is calling the thousands upon thousands of martyrs, persecuted to death for adhering to their belief in Christ as the Son of god, were merely 'delusional people'. Or was it people like Vespaasian, Nero and others of that ilk,the 'delusional ones'? The vast body of Christian martyrs cannot simply be written off as a 'delusional' crowd.