Rule of law concerns highlighted to PM Abela

Former Justice Minister failed to implement Venice Commission recommendations - Omtzigt

Peter Omztigt

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Pieter Omtzigt has met with Prime Minister Robert Abela. During this meeting, Omtzigt brought up for discussion the Venice Commission recommendations and why the Maltese Government is taking long to implement.

Pieter Omtzigt has arrived in Malta on Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Robert Abela to discuss the murder case of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and Malta’s judicial system with high authorities in Malta.

In 2018, the Venice Commission had called for more checks and balances to ensure respect for the rule of law in Malta. The Commission specifically said that Malta needs changes in the role of the President, the judiciary, the parliament, and the ombudsman.

During the meeting with Prime Minister Abela, Omtzigt also said that he is concerned about the serious issues found with Malta’s rule of law.

Addressing Minister Owen Bonnici, who was present for the meeting at Castille, Omtzigt explained how Owen Bonnici as Justice Minister failed to implement reforms to safeguard the rule of law in Malta. He also referred to Malta’s reputation being tarnished in relation to the gaming sector and the selling of Maltese passports.

Regarding the recommendations of the Venice Commission Pieter Omtzigt emphasised how former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had promised he would implement all recommendations but not much progress has been made.

In his comments, Prime Minister Robert Abela said that government will not drag its feet in implementing the necessary changes. He said that the idea is to have more transparency in the system ensuring a stronger judiciary.

Abela said that the labour government believes in the rule of law and that it is paramount to a strong democracy.  Prime Minister Robert Abela also said that all recommendations of the Venice Commission will be taken on board.