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‘Political resignations are not enough’ – Reporters Without Borders

Members of the press waiting for an appearance by the Prime Minister at the steps of Castille in Valletta. Photo: Cami Appelgren.

International press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF) demanded the prosecution of all of those involved in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, saying resignations were not enough.

The organisation noted developments in the investigation, with a number of arrests and political resignations taking place over the past week, which RSF pointed out were occurring after two years of impunity.

RSF welcomed the significant developments taking place after two “long” years of impunity. “However, these are not sufficient steps towards justice. We call for all hitmen, all middlemen, and all masterminds to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said UK Bureau Director Rebecca Vincent.

The organisation took note of the arrest and resignation of the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri, the resignation of Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi (he retained his MP role), and the Economy Minister ‘suspending himself’. All this followed the arrest of a suspected middleman as well as the suspected mastermind, Yorgen Fenech, who has name-dropped government officials when questioned by police. Fenech’s personal doctor, Adrian Vella, was also arrested.

RSF said these developments were due to the sustained campaigning by Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family and Maltese and international civil society “in the face of tremendous pressure”, as well as “courageous investigative reporting”.

In light of the clear deficiencies in the criminal investigation to date, detailed in a recent report co-authored by RSF and The Shift, the organisation reiterated the need for an independent and impartial public inquiry to proceed without further delay. RSF welcomed the recently improved terms of reference and changes to the Board of Inquiry.

This step remains crucial to determine whether the State knew or should have known about the threat to Caruana Galizia; whether the state could have acted to prevent her assassination; and what lessons can be drawn for the future.

“For the country to be able to turn a page and move on, all has to be known on the facts and those responsible for the murder, and all steps have to be taken to ensure full justice,” said the Head of RSF’s EU desk, Pauline Adès-Mével.

RSF called for the Maltese government to implement all other recommendations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) resolution of 26 June related to rule of law in Malta, which have so far gone unheeded.

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