Homicide complaint thrown out in pushback inquiry report

Monique Agius

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The government has published the magisterial inquiry report concerning the death of 12 migrants on Saturday afternoon.

Rule of law NGO Repubblika had filed two criminal complaints in April against Prime Minister Robert Abela, the Army commander Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi and 11 soldiers on P52 after 12 asylum seekers died at sea.

Prime Minister Robert Abela had then ordered the inquiry within 24 hours following the complaint. The magisterial inquiry was carried out by Magistrate Joe Mifsud.

The entire 419-pages magisterial inquiry into the allegations of a migrant pushback by a private vessel which acted as a state agent, and the claims that the Armed Forces of Malta has sabotaged a boat carrying asylum seekers.

In a statement the government said that the inquiry report cleared Prime Minister Robert Abela, Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi and P52 crew were not involved in the voluntary homicide of asylum seekers. The government said that report found that the “allegations made were not on evidence” and that no evidence was found which could link Abela, Curmi and P52 crew to the alleged offences.

Further, the government said that Repubblika had not clarified its suspicions with the government before filing the complaint and had based itself on the allegations made on Twitter.

The court orders the police to investigate

In the report’s conclusions, Magistrate Joe Mifsud has ordered the police to cooperate with their foreign counterparts to investigate the individuals who were allegedly paid to ferry the asylum seekers from Libya to Europe. The magistrate who refers to the asylum seekers as “third country nationals”, said that these individuals had a duty of care towards the people on board the vessel and that they would be allegedly responsible for the loss of life.

The court also ordered that the reports prepared by court expert Martin Bajada are sent to the Counter Terrorism Unit so that they may in cooperation with the Immigration Police and the Economic Crimes Unit, as well as their foreign counterparts investigate and identify the smugglers organizing these trips. The magistrate added that these trips serve to finance terrorist groups citing an example which has been blacked out.

The court has also ordered that a person who’s contact was found a phone belonging to one of the asylum seekers rescued. Magistrate Mifsud ordered the police to establish the person’s role in organizing the trip, adding that “it was clear that the people’s destination was Malta from the GPS coordinates found and the several photos of the country”.

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