Repubblika pledges to defend Daphne inquiry independence

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Civil society NGO Repubblika warned that it would use all possible means to resist any threats to the independence of the public inquiry on the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The NGO has echoed the Caruana Galizia family’s concerns about Prime Minister Robert Abela’s decision to grant the inquiry a one-time extension. It also reacted to a statement by government whip Glenn Bedingfield, who insisted that the inquiry had turned into a political exercise and sought to make a financial argument for bringing it to a close as quickly as possible.

“The use of the word ‘independent’ to describe the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry is not incidental. The inquiry has to delve into what the government could or could not have done after the journalist’s death to ensure that the truth emerges. This is why it is necessary that the inquiry must be independent of any government interference,” Repubblika said.

It added that the related criminal proceedings showed that the prosecution believed that there was government involvement in the motives behind the murder of Caruana Galizia, and that the inquiry revealed that government contributed to an atmosphere of impunity that allowed the assassination to take place

By definition, it argued, an independent inquiry could not be at the mercy of a prime minister or whip deciding what should be deemed relevant or how much time it should need. But it added that there were ulterior motives behind their action.

“Since this inquiry is public, just like everyone else, the Prime Minister and the Partit Laburista are coming to the conclusion that the evidence does not show them up in a good light. They are responsible for the government that is being investigated in this inquiry, and from what they have heard, it does not seem that they will emerge spotless from this exercise,” Repubblika maintained.

It was this that led Bedingfield to state that the process was being politicised, the NGO said, but added that it was obvious that the process would have political ramifications.

“The partisan interests of the Partit Laburista are not a sacred cow. If the evidence shows that in order to further the interests of the Partit Laburista, a journalist was murdered, the public inquiry should be left free to ascertain this as well,” Repubblika said.