ROME -- From picked pockets to a 1998 double murder and suicide, the Vatican legal system has dealt with a vast array of crimes and misdemeanors over the decades.
Now it has begun a formal inquiry into the case of the pope's personal assistant who has been implicated in the media-blitzed "VatiLeaks" scandal. Paolo Gabriele, the pope's valet since 2006, was arrested May 23 by Vatican security for having unauthorized documents in his possession.
As the case unfolds in the coming weeks, many may wonder how the Vatican City State's unique judicial system works.
Its legal foundations are rooted in the Code of Canon Law, papal decrees, the Lateran Pacts, and Italian and Roman municipal laws.
Of the half-dozen different tribunal systems at the Vatican, just one deals specifically with the maintenance of law and order in the 108-acre country. The other systems tackle ecclesial matters.