MALTESE GOVERNMENT CRITICIZED BY THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
The Council of Europe has criticized severely the public inquiry in the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia which was set up by the Maltese Government because it fails to meet the Council’s expectations.
The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Council of Europe described as “essential” that the inquiry ordered by the Maltese government in the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, investigate potential politicians that could have contributed to the assassination of the journalist. The document issued by the Committee states that the inquiry should investigate whether political activities and persons occupying public office could have contributed to a climate of impunity and an atmosphere of hostility towards journalists like Daphne Caruana Galizia. It also says that the investigation has to establish if this behavior has an affect on the investigations.
This position of the Council was published following recommendations made by Pieter Omtzigt, the rapporteur to the Council of Europe. According to Omtzigt, the inquiry currently does not meet the expectations of the Assembly. The Council requested the Maltese Government to address this urgent concern.
One of the recommendations mentioned by the Council is the inclusion of international experts on the Board of Inquiry to secure independence and impartiality. Furthermore, the family of Ms. Caruana Galizia should be given the opportunity to present procedural motions, questioning witnesses and making submissions.
The public inquiry was ordered by the Maltese Government following pressure from the Council of Europe. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has requested that the public inquiry is to be concluded in nine months.
In a statement, the Maltese Government declared that it does not have confidence in the integrity of Pieter Omtzigt who has a big problem of credibility because of his involvement during the investigations related to the MH17 aeroplane crash.