In a meeting with the UN's Committee Against Torture, the Vatican released information about its handling of sex abuse cases.
The Holy See's representative, Msgr. Silvano Tomasi said that in the last decade 3,420 cases of abuse were investigated. Most of the cases though happened decades ago, between the 1950's and 80's.
From 2004 to 2013, a total of 848 priests were defrocked. Last year, 401 credible cases were reported.
When it comes to jurisdiction, Tomasi said that the Holy See doesn't have legal power to hold trials against pedophiles outside the walls of the Vatican City State.
In cases where a priest or religious sexually abuses a child in a different country, the Vatican carries out an ecclesiastical process, but it does not interfere with the local investigation or legal procedure.
Once the case has been investigated, he said the Vatican can punish the priest under Canon Law, where the highest punishment is defrocking.
Msgr. Tomasi presented this information on Tuesday, during his second meeting with the UN Committee on Torture. All member states are required to testify before the panel.
In its hearing, the Vatican City State was represented primarily as a country. Catholics who don't live within its borders, must be held accountable in the country where the crime was committed.
Msgr. Tomasi also responded to a question about the Vatican's prison cells. Benedict XVI's former butler was jailed in one of them for releasing private documents. Despite his complaints, Tomasi said that an engineer and an ophthalmologist approved its conditions.
The Holy See's nuncio also talked about abortion, after the UN panel questioned the Vatican's stance against it. Tomasi said that the Vatican is against torture and that includes violence against the unborn.
As part of its final report, on May 23rd, the UN panel will give the Holy See a series of recommendations.