The Malta Independent 23 July 2019, Tuesday

Watch: Government to reply over ‘serious inaccuracies’ in COE report

Jeremy Micallef Thursday, 23 May 2019, 10:11 Last update: about 3 months ago

Since it is still a draft, the Government will be putting forward it points on the “serious inaccuracies” in the report drawn up by the Council of Europe’s rapporteur into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Minister for Justice Owen Bonnici said today.

The Malta Independent and other sections of the Maltese press on Tuesday published a draft report which said that rule of law in Malta is “seriously undermined” by the “extreme weaknesses” in its system of checks and balances; a dysfunctional system which has resulted in individuals such as the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, and Nexia BT’s Brian Tonna seemingly enjoy impunity under the “personal protection” of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

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Speaking to this newspaper after a press conference yesterday, Bonnici maintained that this is merely draft report, written, he stressed, by European People’s Party [the same political grouping as Malta’s opposition Nationalist Party] Dutch MP Pieter Omtzigt, and was still to be approved.

Commenting on the current process for judicial appointments taken to task in reports, Bonnici insisted that the process has improved after the reforms that have been carried out – reforms which he noted were voted for by former opposition leader Simon Busuttil and opposition MP Jason Azzopardi.

“I cannot understand where the consistency is for people who voted in favour of something, and then because we’re using it, they are telling us that it is not good.”

Bonnici asserted that the reforms need to be carried out with “serenity” and without “disrupting the system”, going on to say that paralyzing the courts until changes are made would not be the best way to administer justice.

“We said that the splitting of the attorney general into two offices, and the reforming of the process of judicial appointments is also a prioritised aspect.”

Bonnici committed to continuing with the reform of the justice system and the changing of laws which, he remarked, had been were inherited from previous administrations.

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