Geneva -

Envoys of the Holy See appeared on Thursday before a UN human rights panel to answer questions on a wave of cases of sexual abuse of children involving Catholic clergy that have surfaced in recent years.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child had submitted a list of questions to the Vatican in advance of the session, which is part of the committee's regular review of countries.

However, the Holy See said in its written replies that as a state, it was not responsible for church institutions or their employees in other countries.

The Holy See also did not provide details of the alleged crimes and how it dealt with them, which had been requested by the 18 experts who make up the committee.

More than 4 000 cases of sexual abuse of children had been reported to the Vatican in the past decade, US Cardinal Levada said in early 2012. - Sapa-dpa