The Prime Minister will be meeting with the family of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia the week after next, government and family sources have both confirmed.
The week’s delay is down to the fact that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is due at the United Nations General Assembly in the coming week and will not return until the week after, when the requested meeting will be held.
The meeting, this newspaper is informed, will discuss concerns Caruana Galizia’s family have on the members of the public inquiry who were appointed by the Prime Minister on Friday night.
The contacts were made through the parties’ lawyers between last night and this morning.
The Caruana Galizia family had asked to meet Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to discuss their concerns right after the public inquiry was announced on Friday night.
The government said Friday evening that it has appointed retired judge Michael Mallia to chair the board of inquiry. The other members are constitutional lawyer Ian Refalo and former forensic investigator Anthony Abela Medici.
In a statement, the family said a public inquiry chaired by a respected former judge “is what all right-minded people have been calling for since our mother’s and wife’s assassination.”
However, it said that “given the gravity of its purpose and its mandate to investigate state institutions, justice demands that the Board’s wider members have no financial or political links to the current political administration.”
“The Board will be unfit for purpose if the public has reason to doubt any of its wider members’ independence or impartiality.”
The family said it is asking to meet with the Prime Minister without delay to discuss its concerns “in that regard.”
Reacting to the news that the PM will be meeting them, the Caruana Galizia family said it was “relieved to hear that the Maltese government, after failing to answer our legal letters, now wants to discuss the membership of the board of inquiry into our wife and mother’s assassination.”
Consultation on the board’s membership is in accordance with the obligations owed to bereaved next of kin pursuant to Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, it said.
“It will also allow the opportunity to provide the government with notice of any connections between members and our wife and mother, and any pronouncements they have made on her assassination.”
The membership suggested by the government late last night remains unconfirmed until this consultation is over, the family said. “Meanwhile, we note that the suggested members have caused grave public concern. We share the public’s concern and will raise further concerns when the Prime Minister agrees to meet us. We are waiting to hear from him.”
The family said that, for the public inquiry to be in compliance with our laws, it must be truly independent, impartial, and have the trust of all parties.
“We trust that any suggested members are aware of these legal requirements and will spare the need for recusal applications. Malta has been denied truth and justice for two years. It cannot wait any longer.”