Overwhelming majority of MEPs call on Malta to hasten Caruana Galizia prosecutions

MEPs deeply regretted that investigations have led to only three convictions related to the carrying out of her assassination

Five years after her assassination, the European Parliament has paid tribute to the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia with a resolution that looks into the rule of law, organised crime, and corruption in Malta.

In its resolution adopted with 564 votes in favour, 10 against, and 17 abstentions on Thursday, Parliament acknowledged the progress in ongoing judicial proceedings, and the Maltese Prime Minister’s public apology for the state’s shortcomings that could have contributed to the Caruana Galizia murder.

However, MEPs deeply regretted that investigations have led to only three convictions related to the carrying out of her assassination. They insist that everyone involved, at every level, need to be brought to justice, and “the full and continuous involvement of Europol” is needed.

Nationalist MEP David Casa said that in five years, MEPs have seen “more examples of impunity than they have seen of convictions.”

“MEPs expressed themselves strongly in the debate on Monday. It is evident they are losing faith in the promises of the Labour government. There is a rift between the promises made and the results delivered.”

Casa’s EPP said the European Parliament had expressed concern about the impunity afforded to key figures in the former prime minister’s administration, “including the former prime minister himself, his chief of staff, and the former minister for tourism, formerly the minister for energy,” referring to Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri, and Konrad Mizzi.  

It is the strongest position yet taken, against Muscat’s administration, since calling for the former PM’s immediate resignation in 2019, and marks an escalation in tone in the European legislature. 

“The assassins have been caught,” Casa remarked. “The Parliament acknowledges this. But it is now sending the message that it is time to seek justice for the politicians and officials and the roles they played.

“It is a shame that the only time we see a modicum of progress in Malta is when we ramp up scrutiny of the Labour Government. But until integrity in the Maltese institutions is restored, I will not stop speaking on behalf of the Maltese people.

“Daphne deserves justice. And the Maltese and Gozitan people deserve to live in a just country.”

MEPs are also concerned that, one year after its publication, the implementation of the recommendations in the final report of a public inquiry into the killing is deficient, despite a number of reforms put forward by the government.

MEPs voiced an array of further concerns, including: the length and inefficiency of investigative and judicial proceedings; allegations of money laundering and corruption; the relatively low number of cases referred to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) and the reported lack of cooperation from Maltese authorities; the impunity afforded to the former Prime Minister, his chief of staff, and the former minister for tourism; and obstacles to media freedom and pluralism.

MEPs welcomeed the additional resources to support investigations and prosecutions, reforms to the appointment procedure for judges and to the Attorney General’s office and role, several government proposals to improve media freedom (which would need, however, to ensure that relevant European and international standards are met), and the amendment of Malta’s Protection of the Whistleblower Act.

Caruana Galizia prize

Every October, Parliament awards the Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for outstanding journalism that promotes or defends the core principles and values of the European Union such as human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, and human rights. This year it rewarded Clément Di Roma and Carol Valade for their documentary “The Central African Republic under Russian influence”.