OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
ON THE JURISDICTION OF JUDICIAL
AUTHORITIES OF VATICAN CITY STATE
IN CRIMINAL MATTERS
In our times, the common good is increasingly threatened by
transnational organized crime, the improper use of the markets and of
the economy, as well as by terrorism.
It is therefore necessary for the international community to adopt
adequate legal instruments to prevent and counter criminal activities,
by promoting international judicial cooperation on criminal matters.
In ratifying numerous international conventions in these areas, and
acting also on behalf of Vatican City State, the Holy See has constantly
maintained that such agreements are effective means to prevent criminal
activities that threaten human dignity, the common good and peace.
With a view to renewing the Apostolic See’s commitment to cooperate
to these ends, by means of this Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio,
I establish that:
1. The competent Judicial Authorities of Vatican City State shall
also exercise penal jurisdiction over:
a) crimes committed against the security, the fundamental
interests or the patrimony of the Holy See;
b) crimes referred to:
- in Vatican City State Law No. VIII, of 11 July 2013,
containing Supplementary Norms on Criminal Law Matters;
- in Vatican City State Law No. IX, of 11 July 2013,
containing Amendments to the Criminal Code and the Criminal
when such crimes are committed by the persons referred to in
paragraph 3 below, in the exercise of their functions;
c) any other crime whose prosecution is required by an
international agreement ratified by the Holy See, if the perpetrator
is physically present in the territory of Vatican City State and has
not been extradited.
2. The crimes referred to in paragraph 1 are to be judged pursuant to
the criminal law in force in Vatican City State at the time of their
commission, without prejudice to the general principles of the legal
system on the temporal application of criminal laws.
3. For the purposes of Vatican criminal law, the following persons
are deemed “public officials”:
a) members, officials and personnel of the various organs of the
Roman Curia and of the Institutions connected to it.
b) papal legates and diplomatic personnel of the Holy See.
c) those persons who serve as representatives, managers or
directors, as well as persons who even de facto manage or
exercise control over the entities directly dependent on the Holy
See and listed in the registry of canonical juridical persons kept
by the Governorate of Vatican City State;
d) any other person holding an administrative or judicial mandate
in the Holy See, permanent or temporary, paid or unpaid,
irrespective of that person’s seniority.
4. The jurisdiction referred to in paragraph 1 comprises also the
administrative liability of juridical persons arising from crimes, as
regulated by Vatican City State laws.
5. When the same matters are prosecuted in other States, the
provisions in force in Vatican City State on concurrent jurisdiction
6. The content of article 23 of Law No. CXIX of 21 November 1987,
which approves the Judicial Order of Vatican City State remains
This I decide and establish, anything to the contrary notwithstanding.
I establish that this Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio will be
promulgated by its publication in L’Osservatore Romano, entering into
force on 1 September 2013.
Given in Rome, at the Apostolic Palace, on 11 July 2013,
the first of my Pontificate.