As the public inquiry marks its first anniversary, many have been reminded that learning lessons is uncomfortable
This article was originally published by the Daphne Foundation.
The Independent public inquiry into the Assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia began on 6 December 2019, after a two-year campaign by civil society, NGOs, European institutions, and Daphne’s family to overcome the Maltese government’s initial refusal.
In its first year, the public inquiry has made important, visible progress in its mission to investigate whether the Maltese state facilitated or failed to prevent Daphne’s assassination, to establish whether the state allowed an environment of impunity for serious crime to develop, and to determine whether the state has fulfilled and is fulfilling its positive obligation to protect individuals at risk, particularly in the case of journalists.
The public inquiry has made substantial progress despite limited cooperation from the Maltese government.
Witnesses representing government and state entities had to be summoned to testify and many withheld information relevant to the public inquiry’s mission. More worryingly, prime minister Robert Abela’s ongoing attempts to end the public inquiry’s mandate undermine its hard-won and essential independence.
It is only if the public inquiry completes its mission, as set out in its Terms of Reference, that lessons can be learnt from Daphne’s assassination, however uncomfortable this process may be for those who bear responsibility. And it is only then that the country can begin a process of real change that ensures nothing like this ever happens again, to Malta’s institutions and journalists.
For that process to begin, we call on Prime Minister Abela and persons in political office to respect the public inquiry’s autonomy and to commit to implementing the public inquiry report in full once it is concluded.