The House of Representatives discussed an Opposition motion so that Parliament appoints a board of inquiry on the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and on whether measures should have been taken to prevent the murder. Both the Government side and the Democratic Party presented amendments to the motion which will be put for a vote at another session next week.
The Opposition motion was moved by MP Carol Aquilina who said that the inquiry board should be appointed by the Prime Minister, however should be independent from him and the Police. He stated that the board should examine if the authorities were aware of the risk that journalist Caruana Galizia faced and measures to be taken to protect journalists.
Dr Aquilina stated that the state is obliged to investigate the murder, apart from the criminal investigation, adding that the inquiry should be concluded within six months with the report presented to the House Speaker who should immediately publish the full report.
The Government’s whip, Byron Camilleri, replied that apart from the criminal investigation there is also the Magistrate’s inquiry on the murder, which shows the rule of law in the country. He added that the Government wants institutions to carry out inquiries and not the politicians, as suggested by the Opposition who also wants to select who will be on the inquiry board. He said that following the conclusion of the current investigations, the Government does not exclude to make a public inquiry.
Opposition Leader, Adrian Delia, said that the Caruana Galizia murder in itself is a threat to the freedom of expression. He said that the fact that the Gozo Minister was mentioned in the motion, was not intended to her personally. He quoted a sentence of the Constitutional Court which removed the Minister’s husband from the investigation. Dr Delia accused the Government with hiding the truth, saying in normal situations politicians resign after the murder of a journalist. He also called for the resignation of the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner, who he said are Government tools. He said the Opposition will be the voice of justice in the country.
Justice Minister Owen Bonnici presented an amendment to the Opposition’s motion which, among others, refers to ongoing investigations and says that the House notices the will of the Prime Minister to call an ulterior inquiry following the conclusion of the current investigations.
Democratic Pary MP, Marlene Farrugia, presented another amendment to the Opposition’s motion, in which it proposed the setting up of a Truth and Justice Commission, led by the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner, and the appointment of inquiry boards that also include the murders of Karen Grech and Raymond Caruana.
At the start of the debate, Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana requested her leave of absence from the discussion as she was mentioned in the motion. She said that at this time she wants to be at home to comfort her children who, during the past year, had to be protected by Police due to the attention placed on her and her husband because of their work. The Minister said she wants to assure her children that she and her husband always carried out their duties in a correct and just way towards their oath of office, independent from each other.