The Malta Independent 20 June 2019, Thursday

European Parliament to debate Malta, Slovakia rule of law resolution today

Neil Camilleri Monday, 25 March 2019, 08:23 Last update: about 4 months ago

The European Parliament will today debate a resolution, approved in February by the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee, that calls for action to be to be taken on the investigations taking place into the murder of journalists Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jan Kuciak.

The debate on the rule of law resolution will be held in plenary, with MEPs are expected to vote on the resolution next week in Brussels.

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The resolution, drafted after visits by a cross-party group of MEPs to both Malta and Slovakia last September, calls for efforts to be made for the masterminds of the murders to be identified and brought to justice as quickly as possible.

A Slovak businessman, Marian Kocner, was charged earlier this month with having ordered the assassination of Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova. Three men stand charged with murdering Daphne Caruana Galizia with a car bomb on 16 October 2017 but the masterminds behind the murder remain unknown.

The assassination of the two journalists raised alarm bells that when it comes to the rule of law, corruption and the protection of journalists in Malta and Slovakia.

The resolution calls on the Maltese authorities to set up an independent public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, to publish the full version of the Magistrate Aaron Bugeja Inquiry report, to stop selling passports with no genuine link to Malta, to investigate corruption and the link between the 17 Black company and Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, as well as to take concrete action against the orchestrated hate campaign against the memory and family of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The inquiry led by Magistrate Bugeja dealt with allegations that a company opened in Panama, named Egrant, belonged to the wife of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. The inquiry found no evidence to sustain the allegation.

“Changes need to be made and now is the time to put the many words that members of Governments from both countries have made, into concrete actions. The citizens of both countries should have their minds put at rest that their authorities are truly acting in their interest,” the EPP said in February.

Speaking to journalists last week, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat insisted that the masterminds behind the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia will be charged once there is all the evidence in hand.

Asked whether the police were close to charging the masterminds who ordered the assassination, following media reports that the investigation had reached an “advanced stage”, Muscat said he would not comment on specific details.

This, he said, “was of no good to anyone” and reiterated that the investigations needed to take their course.

Replying to the Chair of the European Parliament's Rule of Law Monitoring Group in the wake of the approval of the resolution, Muscaft accusedg the group, and others in the EP, of having fallen victim to "direct or indirect interference by Maltese political forces with an overtly partisan agenda".

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