Prime Minister Joseph Muscat left the door open for the appointment of a public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, but said that he will definitely not shoulder responsibility if such an inquiry affects the outcome of the currently ongoing case against three persons who were arrested for the murder.
Speaking on Thursday morning, after the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly adopted a scathing report that called for a public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia to be appointed within the next three months, Muscat said that while he had reservations about rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt for his peddling of false information on the MH-17 plane crash, about the involvement of certain Opposition members in the drafting of the report, and about the fact that there are assertions within it which are “totally false and mistaken”, he could not ignore this report.
Muscat explained that he had said time and time again that a public inquiry into the murder and whether it could have been prevented will take place, but said that he had taken advice from the Attorney General who had said that opening such an inquiry can prejudice the currently ongoing case against three persons charged with the journalist’s murder.
“Despite all this, this report gives a deadline of three months – we are a sovereign country but I am the first one who refuses to put my country in a collision course with a European institution, and that’s why I am going to keep taking advice from the Attorney General to assess the situation.”
Muscat said that he will continue engaging with the Council of Europe – and not with Omtzigt, in whom, he said, he has no faith – but noted that he will not be the person to shoulder responsibility if, due to a public inquiry, the ongoing case is dropped.
“I definitely will not be the person to shoulder responsibility if a public inquiry and its process ends up destroying the current case against the three arrested persons; I will not shoulder that responsibility – I am definitely not ready to do that”, he said.
However, Muscat left the door open for the appointment of the inquiry within the next three months – which is the deadline imposed by the Council of Europe – saying that if there is strong advice in this regard, then he will do it.
He also noted that despite efforts from the Opposition, the Council of Europe refused to impose monitoring procedure on Malta, procedure which he said would have been disproportionate and which has only been used once on another country.