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Council of Europe rapporteur calls out government officials avoiding him

Government officials have still not confirmed meetings with the Special Rapporteur tasked by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to ensure the truth behind the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia emerges.

PACE Special Rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt announced that Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and Economy Minister Chris Cardona have so far not replied to his request for a meeting when he visits Malta as part of his mandate on 22 October.

Omtzigt is also tasked by PACE to also investigate the rule of law in Malta.

The Times of Malta today reports that “top officials have accepted the invitation, referring to the Police Commissioner, the Attorney General, the Chief Justice and the head of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit have all confirmed meetings with Omtzigt”.

Yet, on Twitter, the Special Rapporteur pointed out that government officials have not answered.

“As rapporteur on ‘Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination and the rule of law, in Malta and beyond: ensuring that the whole truth emerges’ I also asked to meet Mr Keith Schembri, Mr Konrad Mizzi, Mr Chris Cardona. I hope they will find an opportunity to meet me,” Omtzigt said.

Questions sent by The Shift News to the OPM on the matter did not receive a reply at the time of writing.

Last Monday, the Legal Affairs Committee of PACE requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on Malta’s constitutional arrangements on the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary and law enforcement bodies.

Yesterday, the government announced in a statement that it had asked the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission for advice on constitutional reform. The statement did not refer to the fact that this was in the aftermath of the Council of Europe’s approach to the Venice Commission, rather than a spontaneous choice by the government of Malta.

It did not go unnoticed by the Special Rapporteur:

The role of the Venice Commission is to provide legal advice to its member states to bring their legal and institutional structures into line with European standards and international experience in the fields of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Its individual members are university professors of public and international law, supreme and constitutional court judges, members of national parliaments and a number of civil servants.

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