Daphne Inquiry: Reactions pour in to Council of Europe’s criticism

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Politicians’ reactions have come pouring in following the Council of Europe’s near-unanimous vote on the public inquiry into the murder of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The inquiry was voted as not meeting the Council’s expectations. Adrian Delia, Nationalist Party (PN) Leader, stated that such a vote only continues to tarnish Malta’s reputation. The Labour Party (PL) responded to this criticism by saying that Delia is being influenced by PN Parliamentary Member (MP) Jason Azzopardi. 

“Only Azerbaijan backed Muscat” – Delia

In a press release, Delia stated that Muscat’s decision to not conduct a public inquiry into Daphne’s death was only backed by Azerbaijan.

He added that Muscat has spent the last three months saying that he has been discussing the terms of reference and composition of the Board of Inquiry with the Council of Europe. However, in Delia’s words, this was a lie, since the Council of Europe has criticised these exact matters.

He said that such a vote has tarnished Malta’s reputation and that now is not the time for dragging one’s feet.

“Delia is being influenced by PN MP Jason Azzopardi” – PL

According to the PL, Delia did not have anything negative to say about those forming part of the Board of Inquiry when the inquiry was announced.

A press release stated that it is PN MP Jason Azzopardi who caused him to succumb to the “PN strategy” of criticising Malta and destroying its reputation with other countries.

The party stated that the Maltese expect Azzopardi to be able to defend Malta against anyone who presents inaccurate statements, by referring to the facts. Furthermore, the party added, anyone who is criticising Malta about the rule of law ought to also question happenings in other countries.

“The inquiry does not meet the Council’s expectations”

The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human rights of the Council of Europe described as “essential” that the inquiry set up by the Maltese government to investigate the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, “… investigates whether the activities of political and public office-holders may have contributed to a general climate of impunity and an atmosphere of hostility towards journalists such as Ms Caruana Galizia, or have improperly impinged upon the investigation into her death.”

This position was taken following recommendations which the rapporteur to the CoE, Pieter Omtzigt made, which recommendations were fully endorsed. In Omtzigt’s opinion, “…the inquiry as currently constituted clearly does not meet the Assembly’s expectations.”

Read: Council of Europe lambasts Daphne inquiry

The Council of Europe celebrates its 70th anniversary

MPs Carm Mifsud Bonnici and Jason Azzopardi noted that the Council of Europe is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

They urged the Government to implement the regularly-received reports rather than ignore them. This is so Malta makes progress in terms of democracy and social justice.