Magistrate failed to include testimonies; Repubblika write to AG over ‘serious’ shortcomings

Monique Agius

Rule of law NGO Repubblika has written to the Attorney General over the inquiry report prepared by Magistrate Joe Mifsud which was described as having serious shortcomings. The NGO demanded that the testimonies given by the 66 survivors that were brought to Malta is included in the report and published.

In the nine-page letter to the AG, signed by lawyers Paul Borg Olivier, Joseph Ellis, Andrew Borg Cardona and Eve Borg Costanzi, the NGO brought to the AG’s attention the lack of inclusion of the testimony given by OPM Chief of Staff Clyde Caruana and Neville Gafa, lack of investigation into the death of the twelve asylum seekers at sea, the exclusion of summoning survivors to testify before the court through electronic means, among other serious shortcomings.

Repubblika had filed two criminal complaints against P52 crew, Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi and Prime Minister Robert Abela to investigate an alleged sabotage of a migrant boat as well as the push back of a group of asylum seekers to Libya. An inquiry was subsequently initiated and was led by Magistrate Mifsud.

The NGO remarked that the inquiry report left out “important” testimonies or was completely discarded.

Repubblika demanded that the testimonies given by the 66 survivors that were brought to Malta is included in the report and published. Furthermore, Neville Gafà’s and Clyde Caruana’s testimonies should be included too in the report, the NGO maintained. Repubblika noted that the correspondence between Caruana and Gafà had been left out. Such evidence could confirm whether Abela or any of his officials had ordered a push back of migrants.

In its letter to the AG, the NGO decried that fact that no effort was made to reach out and to the 51 survivors who were taken back to Libya and who were with the 12 individuals that tragically lost their lives. “The circumstances and the individuals’ time of death are crucial to understand what happened,” Repubblika said.

The NGO claimed that the magisterial inquiry sought to absolve Prime Minister Robert Abela from decisions which led to the death of twelve individuals.

“Everyone deserves that justice is served. The duty magistrate, the AG and the police, are responsible for establishing the facts whenever there was an untimely death, even if the government was uncomfortable with the truth,” Repubblika stated.

Read the letter to the AG

Similarly a letter was sent to the Attorney General on behalf of some families of the twelve victims. In their legal letter, the victims pointed out that the shortcomings in the inquiry report.