Daphne’s murder: Police silent on call for a Joint Investigation Team

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Eleven international press freedom organisations have written to Attorney General Peter Grech calling for Malta to request Europol to set up a joint investigation team (JIT) to support the judicial proceedings linked to the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Police refrained from commenting about the call for a JIT and instead insisted that Europol was already supporting the investigation. Europol is a law enforcement agency of the European Union facilitating collaboration among police in different member states. As an agency, it has no executive powers, and its officials are not entitled to arrest suspects or act without prior approval from competent authorities in the member states.

On the other hand, a Joint Investigation Team is an international cooperation tool based on an agreement between competent authorities – both judicial and law enforcement – of two or more States, established for a limited duration and for a specific purpose, to carry out criminal investigations in one or more of the involved States.

The press freedom organisations expressed their concern that legal proceedings around the murder have not yet delivered full justice for Caruana Galizia or her family.

“The Maltese authorities have a new opportunity to demonstrate that justice will be delivered for Caruana Galizia and her family by requesting that Europol immediately establish a Joint Investigation Team. By delivering justice in this important case, the Maltese authorities will demonstrate that no one in Malta is above the law and that journalists will be protected,” the organisations said in their letter to the Attorney General.

In a brief statement, the Police said that Europol was still involved in the ongoing investigation. However, the call for establishing a Joint Investigation Team was not addressed.

Council of Europe rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt remarked that the suggestion was a valuable one.

Writing on Facebook, Matthew Caruana Galizia said that Malta has only one officer trained in investigating money-laundering and that same officer had allowed Keith Schembri to escape justice.

He highlighted that for this cooperation to happen efficiently, the Attorney General needs to submit a formal request to Europol to set up a JIT which would allow the authorities to get evidence from other jurisdictions.

Caruana Galizia said that there was only one reason why Grech would not want to heed to such a call, and that was “to continue protecting Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi and the other people who conspired with Yorgen Fenech.”

More government disinformation: the police are saying that a group of press freedom organisations called for the support…

Posted by Matthew Caruana Galizia on Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Partit Nazzjonalista MEP David Casa endorsed the call made by the organisations.

On World Press Freedom Day, the Caruana Galizia family wrote to Siemens CEO urging him to either take the Electrogas contracts to arbitration or sue in order to rescind the contract. Siemens is one of the business partners in the Electrogas consortium. The family reminded the company of its public and legal commitments as part of a settlement for criminal action in the United States, adding that the company had publicly committed itself to fight corruption.