Court upholds NGOs’ request to intervene in Mizzi’s rights’ breach claim

Constitutional court upholds request by NGO Repubblika to intervene in the case filed by minister Konrad Mizzi, after he complained that his human rights had been breached

Tourism minister Konrad Mizzi
Tourism minister Konrad Mizzi

The Constitutional Court has upheld a request by NGO Repubblika to intervene in a constitutional case filed by tourism minister Konrad Mizzi, in which he complains that his human rights are being breached over a request for an investigation into corruption. 

Mr. Justice Joseph Zammit McKeon heard arguments and submissions over the intervention of the NGO Repubblika in the cases filed by minister Konrad Mizzi against the Attorney General.

Mizzi had filed a constitutional application claiming a breach of his right to a fair hearing in a case related to the Panama Papers inquiry appeal. One of seven high profile individuals into whom an investigation was ordered by Magistrate Ian Farrugia following revelations emerging from the Panama Papers, Mizzi is now claiming that the judicial process, filed by former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, was simply an attempt “to cast a shadow upon his integrity.”

Mizzi’s lawyer John Bonello today insisted that his client's human rights were being breached by the fact that he was being investigated. “Maltese courts are mistaken when they follow decisions on procedure handed down by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg,” he said. 

Mizzi himself was not present for the case. 

“The argument my clients are making that the Konrad Mizzi is corrupt and taking bribes and that he is trying to stop an inquiry which doesn’t affect his rights,” said lawyer Jason Azzopardi, appearing for the organisation. 

“What we have here is only a request to intervene in the case,” said the lawyer. “The minister doesn’t want to be investigated although he says he’s innocent.” 

Repubblika was allowed to intervene in another, similar, case in December, he said. The court upheld the request on the basis of “constant jurisprudence”. 

Lawyers Aaron Mifsud Bonnici and Bonello told the court they wanted to register the intention of the applicant to request special permission to present an appeal from the interlocutory decrees about the intervention in the case. 

“Look who’s talking about delays,” quipped Azzopardi. “I have no problem with facing this. Right is on our side.” 
The court was similarly unimpressed. “You have to decide what you want. Either the matter is urgent or you want to appeal.” 

Activist Manuel Delia later told MaltaToday that his NGO will oppose the attempt to “make everyone give up...  We’re at the point where a government minister is claiming that a request that he be investigated breaches his human rights,” Delia said.