Council of Europe draft report on Malta – What we know so far

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Rule of law, the investigations into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder and impunity were amongst the main issues dealt with by a draft Council of Europe report on Malta, which a number of media outlets report to have ‘seen’.

The Malta Independent reports that the draft report says that the 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. 

The report refers to the rule of law concerns on Malta, and quotes the opinion of the Venice Commission and GRECO who conclude that “Malta’s government institutions, criminal justice system and law enforcement bodies do not comply with European standards on the rule of law”. “This has allowed allegations of rampant corruption to fester”, the scathing report reads.

The Times of Malta reports that Malta’s weaknesses are a source of vulnerability for all of Europe, Maltese citizenship is European Union citizenship, a Maltese visa is a Schengen visa, and a Maltese bank gives access to the European banking system. If Malta cannot or will not correct its weaknesses, European institutions must intervene, the scathing report says.

The Malta Independent reports that despite certain recent steps, Malta still needs fundamental, holistic reform, including subjecting the office of Prime Minister to effective checks and balances, ensuring judicial independence and strengthening law enforcement and other rule of law bodies”, the report reads. A pick-and-choose approach will not achieve the necessary results”, the draft report reads.”

Newsbook, says that the draft report prepared by the Council of Europe about the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, concludes that if Malta cannot or will not correct its weaknesses, then the European institutions must intervene.

On the subject the Malta Independent reports, that the report which is from the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights within the Council of Europe, lists no less than ten “serious concerns” over the investigations into the murder, including the need to recuse several magistrates from various roles because of conflicts of interest; the need to remove the investigating police officer because of a conflict of interest; the failure of the authorities to request possible evidence from the German police; the failure of the police to interrogate economy minister Chris Cardona, despite claims that he had had contacts with the suspects; and the possibility that the Maltese security service may have had prior intelligence about the murder plot.

In the circumstances, the Parliamentary Assembly within the Council will call on Malta to “establish at the earliest opportunity, within three months, an independent public inquiry in order to ensure fulfilment of its obligations under article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Based on reports on 

Newsbook (Read Here)

The Malta Independent (Read Here)

The Times of Malta (Read Here) 

 

via CiConsulta BeInformed Media Monitoring Service

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