Watch: Venice Commission proposals being implemented half-heartedly – Repubblika

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The implementations of the recommendations made by the Venice Commission are ‘too half-hearted and too diluted to address the central issues identified by the Commission.’ These were Repubblika’s words in a letter addressed to the Director and Secretary for the European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission), Thomas Markert.

Repubblika was writing in reference to the undated letter sent by Minister for Justice, Equality and Governance, Edward Zammit Lewis. This letter incorporates legal concepts about extensive, historic, and unprecedented reforms which the government plans on implementing, particularly in the judicial sector.

Repubblika stated that after the government’s proposals are implemented, ‘Malta’s Prime Minister will remain all powerful, the institutions weak and the openness to corruption flagrant.’ It acknowledged that the Commission has its limitations on its ability to contribute and compensate for Malta’s institutional failures. However, the group felt that it was its duty to record its scepticism about the reforms. Indeed, according to the group, ‘the proposals being made risk weakening even further whatever checks and balances still exist in our system’.

Repubblika stated that the government fails to acknowledge the central motivation of the Commission’s opinion. This motivation is to examine ‘structural, constitutional and legislative issues with a view to assisting Malta in improving checks and balances and the independence of the judiciary’. This request originated against the backdrop of the ineffectiveness of the investigation to find any persons who ordered the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Indeed, the Commission identifies the fight against corruption as the underlying motivation for the changes proposed. Yet, ‘the government has deliberately made no reference whatsoever to the fight against corruption in its response’.

Amongst other things, Repubblika also stated that the document lacks detail, that the Government’s response as of yet is still on the superficial level, and that the government appear to be seeking the Commission’s blessing before publishing draft legislation.

One can view Repubblika’s document in full, here: