The Pope continues the reform of Vatican justice. In a new decree published on Tuesday, February 16, François made a number of changes to the functioning of the courts of the smallest state in the world. It specifies in particular the role of “Promoters of justice”, equivalent of prosecutors in the French judicial system.
“The office of the promoter of justice exercises in autonomy and independence, in the three judicial degrees, the functions of the public prosecution and the others assigned to it by law”, can we read in this motu proprio.
→ INVESTIGATION. How the Vatican Reforms Its Justice
The subject is far from coming under the sole legal technique. The independence of the Vatican justice is indeed one of the most sensitive points of the judicial apparatus of this State, in particular because it is directed by a leader, the Pope, who is not justiciable before anyone.
Extension of powers
But in reaffirming this principle, Francis emphasizes above all that the Vatican’s promoters of justice do not need his authorization or his support to launch an investigation. A decision in line with the expansion of the powers of prosecutors, authorized since October to “Coordinate investigations in the field of preventing and combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism”, And this “By carrying out an investigative activity”.
Beyond the question of the independence of the Vatican justice, the new motu proprio signed by François also revises the Vatican criminal procedure, notably allowing judges to hold, in certain cases, a trial in the absence of the accused. This is for example the case if an accused “Refuses to show up” before the judges without any “Legitimate and serious impediment”.
“It is about adjustments of the law according to the needs which are felt, of which the importance given to the promoters of justice and the multiplication of the trials before the Vatican justice”, analysis Mgr Patrick Valdrini, canon of the Lateran and canonist.
Lawsuit for embezzlement
Investigations have indeed multiplied in recent months, especially in the financial field, where the Vatican is working on risky investments ordered by the smallest state in the world, especially in real estate in London.
Vatican court set to open “embezzlement” trial
It is in this context that a trial should soon be held for ” embezzlement “ against Cecilia Marogna, who presents herself as a specialist in diplomatic relations, and who is accused of having embezzled € 250,000. However, his lawyers, believing that the Vatican procedure did not guarantee a fair trial, have already suggested that their client would not appear before the judges.