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Declaration of the interim Director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, 02.07.2019

The Office of the Promoter of Justice of Vatican City State Tribunal, in the person of the Promoter Professor Gian Piero Milano and his Adjunct, Professor Alessandro Diddi, by decree of June 27, has ordered the opening of two tombs in the Teutonic Cemetery. The decision was taken in the context of one of the files opened following a petition by Emanuela Orlandi’s family who in recent months, as is known, have among other things reported the possible concealment of her body in the small cemetery in Vatican City State.

The operations will take place this coming 11 July, in the presence of the lawyers of the parties (as well as the family of Emanuela Orlandi and the relatives of the people who are interred in the tombs concerned), with the technical assistance of Professor Giovanni Arcudi, the Commander of the Vatican Gendarmerie, Domenico Giani, and personnel of the Gendarmerie. The judicial provision foresees a complex organization of men and means (workers from the Fabric of Saint Peter and personnel from the COS, the Operative Security Centre – Centro Operativo di Sicurezza – of the Vatican Gendarmerie, for the demolition and restoration of the stone slabs and for the documentation of the operations).

The decision comes after a phase of investigations during which the Promoter’s Office - with the help of the Gendarmerie – carried out investigations aimed at reconstructing the main judicial phases of this long, painful and complex case. It should be remembered that for legal reasons the Vatican investigating authority has no jurisdiction to investigate Emanuela Orlandi’s disappearance in Italy; investigations which, moreover, have been conducted by Italian investigators – from the earliest stages – with scrupulousness and professional rigor. Therefore, the Vatican initiative concerns only the ascertainment of the possible burial of the body of Emanuela Orlandi in the territory of the Vatican State.

In any case, the complex expert appraisals scheduled for 11 July are only the first phase of a series of planned investigations which, after the opening of the tombs and the collection and cataloguing of the remains, will lead to the expert reports to establish the dating of the findings and for DNA comparison.