(Vatican Radio) The Vatican's Promoter of Justice, Gian Piero Milano, issued a report Saturday to inaugurate the 81st year of the Vatican's judicial tribunal.
In the report Milano noted that the reforms initiated by Pope Francis profoundly affect the internal life of the Vatican City State, its legislative, judicial and administrative activities. "They also affect the level of relations with other jurisdictions,” he said, “to whom the Church and its institutional expressions can offer a unique and significant contribution.”
Justice affects the individual person and also the entire community. The love of neighbor, peace, care for creation, tireless concern for the elimination of inequalities, are themes of the report and are values that challenge legal practitioners who are called to intervene when rules are violated. Justice, as identified by Pope Francis, is not enough. We have a God also of mercy and forgiveness.
With the pontificate of Pope Francis a new legislative phase has begun to address concerns of the international community to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The Holy See and the Vatican City State is also committed to adopting a series of measures for implementing specific EU requirements in these areas.
In criminal matters, new offences have been identified: crimes against the person (racial discrimination, human trafficking, torture); crimes against children (sale of children, induction or management of child prostitution, sexual violence, child pornography, child recruitment); crimes against humanity (genocide and other crimes against the civilian population); war crimes and crimes related to terrorism and narcotics.
Financial matters have been reformed, including modernization efforts in the field of regulating the financial system. Vatican financial ordering is now on par with that of European standards. Measures have been introduced to increase the transparency, integrity and stability of the system, operating on the “due diligence” system.
With the Motu proprio "Fidelis dispensator et prudens" of 24 February 2014 the department has established the Council for the Economy and the State Secretariat for the Economy. The first has the duty to ensure the structures and administrative and financial activities of the departments of the Roman Curia, the institutions connected with the Holy See and Vatican City State. The second has the task of implementing economic control and the supervision of those organizations and institutions.
The Promoter also reported on the progress of the agreement between the Holy See and Italy on tax matters, signed 1 April 2015. This convention allows full compliance with simplified procedures, tax obligations related to the financial assets held by entities conducting financial activities in the Holy See from natural and legal persons resident for tax purposes in Italy.
Reforms have also affected the judiciary. New arrangements ensure a dialogue and cooperation with other jurisdictions and a more effective adoption of foreign legal instruments.
In reporting on the Gendarmerie, the Promoter stated that controls on cross-border cash transportation have resulted in an average of 30 inspections per day for a total of 11,000 per year. More generally, in the course of 2015, 8 arrests and 53 detentions were effected. Complaints of theft numbered 58, there were 88 fines, 64 road accidents and 3 fraud attempts.
Among the activities of the judicial police, efforts were made in the area of cyber crime. Websites with defamatory content in regard to the Vatican City State and the Holy See were shut down, as well as email accounts connected to fraud and identity theft.
Finally, the report states that there has been a significant increase in the judicial burden during the past judicial year.