Pope Benedict enjoys diplomatic immunity but other Vatican officials and Belgian bishops will be summoned to testify in the case, lawyer Walter van Steenbrugge said.
Christine Mussche, another lawyer for about 70 victims, said the Vatican failed to intervene even when it learned about the scandals in the Belgian Church. Over 500 cases of alleged abuse have been registered in the past year.
The Belgian lawyers appeared to be taking a page from the legal strategy of attorneys representing clerical abuse victims in the United States, where several such suits have been filed.
In one case concerning a priest in Milwaukee, the summons was served in April through U.S. diplomatic channels after the Vatican refused to accept them when sent by a courier service.
. "The Holy See is the central organ of the Catholic Church and has legal status in international law," he said. "The pope himself is immune."