PACE Resolution Condemns Assassination of Maltese Journalist
A slew of international freedom of expression organizations welcome the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted on 26 June, condemning the continued impunity for the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The resolution highlights broader systemic rule of law shortcomings in Malta, and inter alia, calls for the launch of an independent public inquiry into the case within three months.
Titled Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and the rule of law in Malta and beyond: ensuring that the whole truth emerges, the resolution accompanied a report drafted by Dutch MP Pieter Omtzigt in his capacity as the PACE Special Rapporteur tasked with looking into the case.
After a robust debate in which only two delegates from Malta and four delegates from Azerbaijan spoke against the report, the resolution passed in a vote of 72 in favor, 18 against, and three abstentions.
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Most of the 14 amendments considered were rejected, including those from the Maltese delegation that would have undermined the resolution, as well as an amendment calling for PACE country monitoring to be opened on Malta.
The international organizations have been united in calling for an immediate independent public inquiry to be launched since undertaking a joint international freedom of expression mission to Malta in October 2018.
It marked one year since Caruana Galizia’s assassination – a measure also advocated by the Caruana Galizia family and their legal representation, which the Maltese government has so far resisted.
In line with a legal opinion drafted by Doughty Street Chambers and Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, an independent public inquiry would aim to establish whether the Maltese government knew or ought to have known of a threat to Caruana Galizia’s life; whether they could have acted to protect her and prevent her assassination; and what lessons can be drawn for the future.
The organizations that support the inquiry are Reporters Without Borders (RSF), ARTICLE 19, Committee to Protect Journalists, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, European Federation of Journalists, IFEX, International Press Institute (IPI), PEN International, Scottish PEN, and Transparency International.
Last year, global anti-corruption organization Transparency International had selected late Maltese journalist Galizia as a winner of the 2018 Anti-Corruption Award. Through her reporting, Galizia exposed corruption scandals involving influential politicians and others in Malta and abroad.
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