Owen Bonnici accuses Jason Azzopardi of being ‘spiteful’ for wanting Council of Europe monitoring mission on Malta

Malta will engage with Council of Europe over public inquiry call into Daphne Caruana Galizia murder, Justice Minister says

Owen Bonnici (left) accused Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi of not having the national interest at heart
Owen Bonnici (left) accused Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi of not having the national interest at heart

Owen Bonnici accused Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi of being “spiteful” when supporting a call for the Council of Europe to impose a monitoring procedure on Malta.

The Justice Minister did not hold back in his criticism of Azzopardi after last month’s Council of Europe parliamentary session adopted a damning report on the rule of law in Malta by a large majority

The report’s principle recommendation was the setting up of a public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

During that same session, a last-minute proposal to impose a monitoring mission on Malta was defeated but Azzopardi voted in favour.

“We do not mind criticism but [Azzopardi’s vote] speaks volumes about the intention of the person who voted against the national interest,” Bonnici said in Parliament on Monday.

The minister said he made his own the words Opposition leader Adrian Delia used to describe certain language adopted by Azzopardi. In a different context, Delia had used the word "spiteful" to describe certain Facebook utterances by Azzopardi, critical of his leadership and the party.

The minister insisted it was “unacceptable” that a Maltese person pushed for a monitoring mission that was only imposed one other time on Turkey.

Bonnici was replying to Azzopardi’s question as to whether the government had identified the people to lead the independent inquiry requested by the Council of Europe.

“We want to engage with the Council of Europe on the matter to explore the road ahead, fully aware of the risks that a public inquiry running alongside an ongoing criminal investigation could prejudice the court case,” Bonnici said.

The minister did not elaborate on the matter.

Caruana Galizia was murdered on 16 October 2017 and two months later three men were arrested and charged with implanting and detonating the bomb that killed her.

The compilation of evidence against the three men accused with the murder is still going on but the mastermind behind the bombing is still at large.

READ ALSO: Prime Minister will seek fresh advice on Caruana Galizia murder inquiry after Council of Europe vote

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