Updated with Partit Nazzjonalista’s statement at 8.20pm
The government will launch a public inquiry into the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in the coming months, keeping with the three-month deadline as set by the Council of Europe.
This was confirmed by Foreign Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela in a reply to Article 19’s Head of Europe and Central Asia Sarah Clarke during Defend Media Freedom conference.
#Malta’s Foreign Minister, @AbelaCarmelo, has just said Malta will comply with the 3 month period given by the @PACE_LegalHR @PieterOmtzigt resolution to undertake a public inquiry into whether life of #DaphneCaruanaGalizia could have been saved. #DefendMediaFreedom
— Sarah Clarke (@Sarah_M_Clarke) July 11, 2019
Among the recommendations made in the recently approved resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, is a demand to open a public inquiry into the murder of Caruana Galizia within three months.
Abela explained that the issue of the public inquiry is of a legal nature, adding that this might impinge on the on-going investigations. He said that the Malta has reservations with the content of the Council of Europe’s report. Further, Abela added that the question now is on how to mitigate the impact of having a public inquiry on on-going investigations.
The Government had told the United Kingdom that it was not considering launching a public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s assassination, Newsbook.com.mt reported in June.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had reiterated that he did not agree with the content of the resolution adding that it was riddled with inaccuracies and accused the special rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt of bias.
Former Opposition and PN leader Simon Busuttil reacted to the news on Twitter saying that after 21 months, Muscat agreed to hold an independent public inquiry only because he was ordered to do so by the Council of Europe. Adding that this should have been done from the start. PN MEP David Casa also reacted saying “almost two years late”, adding that the inquiry must be truly independent, transparent and closely monitored.
‘The board should be appointed by parliament’ – PN
In a statement Partit Nazzjonalista said that it has noted that the Government found the will to do what was meant to be done months ago, and launch a public inquiry into the assassination.
Reacting to the comments by Foreign Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela, PN said that it expects that the board which will be appointed to lead the inquiry is independent. The Nationalist Party explained that the appointment of such board should be done in parliament and not appointed by the Prime Minister alone, reiterating that the persons appointed should be impartial and without any political ties.
Partit Nazzjonalista said that the remit of the board should be able to determine whether the death of Caruana Galizia could have been avoided and whether the state has fulfilled its obligations by taking the necessary steps to protect Caruana Galizia’s life.
Partit Nazzjonalista added that the government has dragged its feet on the matter for months saying that this had repercussions on Malta’s reputation at the Council of Europe.
FINALLY! After 21 MONTHS, the Prime Minister agreed to hold an independent public inquiry into the assassination of #DaphneCaruanaGalizia. But only because he was ordered to do so by the Council of Europe.
He should have done the right thing from the start.@PieterOmtzigt @coe https://t.co/1H0Eti0kUA
— Simon Busuttil (@SimonBusuttil) July 11, 2019
This inquiry must be truly independent, transparent and closely monitored. pic.twitter.com/mBvjFa9wgc
— David Casa (@DavidCasaMEP) July 11, 2019
"The world will be watching closely,” says Sarah Clarke.
It was her question about #DaphneCaruanaGalizia put to
Malta's Foreign Minister – ironically attending a #DefendMediaFreedom conference (!) – that finally drew this commitment for a public inquiry. https://t.co/VdkatTSBOL pic.twitter.com/bjcj3GS9JN
— Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) July 11, 2019
— Carole Cadwalladr (@carolecadwalla) July 11, 2019
Video: Youtube/Foreign & Commonwealth Office