Public inquiry conclusions ‘cannot be addressed by legislative changes only’ – PACE rapporteurs

Co-Rapporteurs of PACE Monitoring Committee highlight need for ‘change of attitude, behaviour’ in Malta

 

Co-Rapporteurs for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) described the country’s need to implement the recommendations of the public inquiry board that determined the state’s role in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia as one that “cannot be addressed by legislative changes only”.

After a three day visit in Malta towards the end of October, Co-Rapporteurs George Loukaides and Bernard Fournier, citing the public inquiry board’s conclusions, argued that the culture of impunity and corruption that led to Caruana Galizia’s murder serve as key indicators of the need for “profound reform” in Maltese politics.

“The culture of impunity and of tolerance for corruption and conflict of interest cannot be addressed by legislative changes only, but requires a change of attitude and behaviour on the part of all concerned,” a PACE press statement published earlier today reads, referring to legislative amendments passed by Malta’s Parliament as it attempts to address the recommendations of the Venice Commission and the public inquiry.

The “profound reform” envisaged by Fournier and Loukaides in the press statement summarising their initial findings includes “considerably strengthening parliamentary oversight of the executive” by establishing an autonomous, full-time body of MPs.

The rapporteurs noted the custom of MPs holding secondary jobs and functions in state institutions and agencies that they are supposed to oversee – with the inherent risks of conflict of interest and corruption,” the press statement reads.

“They therefore urged the drawing up of a clear list of positions and functions that are incompatible with the position of MP”.

The Co-Rapporteurs further flagged their concerns related to the amount of people employed by the state in positions of trust, which are generally less accountable for their actions and decisions than regular public officials.

Both PACE representatives also noted that the practice “remains widespread, amounting to a system of patronage with the evident risks of conflict of interest and corruption”, adding that such roles should be strictly limited and clearly defined in terms of responsibilities of the persons employed in this regard and how they will be held accountable.

Grave concern was expressed over the “deeply-rooted political and social polarisation” of Maltese society, with Fournier and Loukaides stressing that they had met several activists and journalists who had explained how they faced harassment and trolling on social media and “outright threats to themselves and their families”.

“Such behaviour has no place in a democratic society, and should be addressed as a priority by the authorities,” the statement adds.

Referring to women’s rights, the Co-Rapporteurs welcomed planned reforms to increase women’s representation in parliament while calling for more dialogue on reproductive rights. On a different note, the statement also urges local authorities to address concerning issues in relation to migrants’ rights by implementing recommendations previously made by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner on Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović.

                           
                               
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James
James
6 months ago

And what will change?

From past experience my guess is absolutely nothing.

There will be the usual denials that the rule of law is being compromised and that there is no evidence of collusion and corruption.

Just like when the ICIJ started exposing these very traits with the Pandora Papers, followed by the Paradise Papers, then the Luanda Leaks, followed up with the FinCen Files and topped off with the recent Pandora Papers.

Long live democracy, but of course that doesn’t apply in Malta does it?

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