The Malta Independent 19 June 2021, Saturday

Commission turns down Degiorgios' request to intervene over pardon, directs them to Europol

Wednesday, 9 June 2021, 11:13 Last update: about 9 days ago

The European Commission cannot intervene in the decision taken by the President of Malta not to grant a pardon to brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio.

This emerged in a response letter sent by European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders to the Degiorgio's lawyer, William Cuschieri. The Commissioner also directed the Degiorgios to share any relevant information they may have with Europol.

The Degiorgio brothers, who are currently charged with the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, had requested a presidential pardon, in return for revealing certain information they have. The brothers have claimed they have information that implicates Minister Carmelo Abela in the 2010 HSBC heist. They had also accused Chris Cardona of being involved in a failed 2015 plot to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia. Their request for a Presidential pardon was turned down.

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Both Abela and Cardona have denied the accusations on multiple occasions.

Lawyer William Cuschieri had written to the European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, stating that his clients are in a position to provide first-hand information detailing the above.

Cuschieri had said that his clients' requests for a Presidential Pardon have been rejected by the President of Malta acting on the recommendation of the Cabinet of Ministers of Government after advice was tendered by the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police. He added that it is not possible for the State to assess his clients' request fairly due to the allegations surrounding a current and former minister.

In response to the letter, the European commissioner said: "I would like to recall that the Commission has strongly condemned the assassination of Ms Daphne Caruana Galizia and has, on various occasions, emphasised that the Maltese authorities must ensure that justice is secured. While the Commission cannot comment on the national investigation in progress, it has consistently underlined the need for independent and thorough investigations that must be free of any political interference. The Commission has also emphasised that all those responsible must be brought to justice as soon as possible."

"However, under the Treaties on which the EU is founded, the Commission has no powers to interfere in the day-to-day administration of justice in the Member States. In particular, as regards the refusal of the President of Malta to grant pardon to your clients, regardless of the allegations you include in your letter, I note that such power is a matter of national competence and that the Commission has no power to intervene in such cases," the Commissioner continued.

"Having regard to the above, the Commission can therefore not follow up on your request to intervene in this case. As you seem to indicate yourself in your letter, Europol, which is currently supporting the Maltese authorities in the investigations of the assassination of Ms Daphne Caruana Galizia, would probably welcome the sharing of relevant information. The Commission will continue to follow closely the developments in Malta and remains strongly committed to upholding EU law and values in the interest of the citizens of Malta and of the rest of the European Union."

 


 

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