The European Parliament has resoundingly approved a resolution concerning rule of law in Malta in the wake of further damning revelations in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case.
Earlier this morning, MEPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of the resolution, with 635 for the proposal, 46 against, while 12 abstained. It is believed that Malta’s Labour Party MEPs voted against the resolution.
A key feature of the resolution was the appropriateness in granting presidential pardons for criminals turning state evidence. Vince Muscat has already been granted a pardon and a reduced sentence for turning state evidence in the murder cases of Caruana Galizia and lawyer Carmel Chircop.
“ [There are] concerns about the repeated offer and use of presidential pardons in the context of the murder trial…and testimonies offered for other crimes should be very carefully assessed and should not be used to evade full justice for murder,” the resolution reads.
The resolution also refers to serious allegations facing the current administration, namely Muscat’s claims that former minister Chris Cardona was involved in a plot to murder Caruana Galizia, that a sitting minister, believed to be Carmelo Abela, was involved in an infamous HSBC heist, and Rosianne Cutajar’s dodgy brokerage on main suspect Yorgen Fenech’s purchase of a Mdina home.
With regards to Cutajar, the MEPs are questioning whether it is appropriate that she is only subject to a Standards Commissioner investigation.
It calls on the European Commission to “use all the tools and procedures at its disposal to ensure full compliance with EU law vis‑à‑vis the efficient functioning of judicial systems, the fight against money laundering, banking supervision, public procurement, and urban planning and development”.
“Testimony has made clear that it was the links between the criminal underworld, the Maltese government, and the Malta Labour Party that allowed the assassination to take place. The Maltese Government now needs to deploy all necessary resources to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia,” Vladimir Bilcik, the MEP who worked on the resolution for the EPP group, said.
Crucially, the resolution also makes reference to SLAPP, Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.
In a debate about the issue, Labour Party MEPs were left isolated in a tense sitting. PL MEPs Cyrus Engerer, Alex Agius Saliba, Alfred Sant, and Josianne Cutajar all echoed similar sentiments – insisting with the parliament that the institutions were working – noting that while the sitting was underway, Melvin Theuma was testifying in the case against Yorgen Fenech; and Nexia BT and other figures were in court for money-laundering charges.
This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives.
This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
Do you agree with the resolution?