The Malta Independent 21 September 2021, Tuesday

Caruana Galizia family accepts PM’s apology; Family will continue to fight for accountability

Kevin Schembri Orland Friday, 30 July 2021, 13:58 Last update: about 3 months ago

The family of Daphne Caruana Galizia have accepted the apology made by Prime Minister Robert Abela, her son Paul has said, adding later that there are people who still have to be held accountable for their actions and "we won't be letting go of this."

“We acknowledge the Prime Minister’s apology and we agree with him completely that this apology is owed to Malta and not just us,” Paul Caruana Galizia said during a virtual press conference.

He acknowledged the significance of the report compiled by three judges who were entrusted to carry out a public inquiry.  “The report confirmed what we long suspected, that the state must bear responsibility for my mother’s murder and that she should still be alive. Those words keep ringing in my mind… she should still be alive.  It’s a real list of failings that led to her murder.”

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He said the report is groundbreaking in many ways. “One finding, for example, is that a government sponsored dehumanisation campaign against my mother prepared the ground for her assassination. It is an important step for Malta to recognise the serious physical harm caused by political propaganda.”

The report, he said, found that the dangers to his mother were obvious to everyone except the authorities that were meant to be protecting her life.

He stressed for the need for the report’s recommendations to be implemented in full and in a non-partisan way.

Caruana Galizia was asked whether the family will be meeting with the Prime Minister, whether the family accepts the apology and whether it joins in calls of local activists who are pushing for the resignation of cabinet members who were singled out in the inquiry report for shortcomings or wrongdoings.

He responded that the family has no plans to meet the Prime Minister. “We would if he offered a meeting.”

“The apology is something we accept. He made an apology in Parliament and we totally agree that the apology is owed to the entire country which was put through incredible trauma. So the apology again is owed to all of Malta and not just us. On the people singled out in the report, of course we believe there should be complete accountability for every single failing, by whoever it is. We know there are people who still have to face any sort of accountability for their actions and we won’t be letting go of this.”

Lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia, who represents the family, also spoke.

She said that while the report includes many recommendations, “what I really expect from the Maltese state at this point is to study the report well, consider all the recommendations made, but that such consideration must be made in a non-partisan manner. I would like Malta to stand united in a process of reconciliation, which I believe can only be achieved by Parliament appointing a truly independent and impartial committee of experts in which journalists participate on an equal footing. So that this committee may then study with journalists, which reforms are necessary and needed immediately, in the medium-term and in the long-term.”

“We would really like the report’s recommendations and the recommendations that will be made by the committee of experts, to then be adopted through Parliament. This is not exactly what the Prime Minister promised. I strongly believe that the reforms should be completely independent, impartial and non-partisan. This is the way to start a process of reconciliation and the only way we can ensure journalists are efficiently and effectively protected.”

Other speakers at the press conference included Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Doughty Street Chambers and Rebecca Vincent, Director of International Campaigns, Reporters without borders.

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