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Foreign affairs minister Carmelo Abela has confirmed that a public inquiry into whether the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia could have been prevented will take place within the next three months.
The government has held back from launching such an inquiry, arguing that it could impinge on the ongoing criminal investigation into who masterminded her murder back in October 2017.
However, a recent ruling by the Council of Europe which gave Malta three months to open an independent public inquiry, has clearly changed the government’s stance.
“I made it very clear that we have legal advice from the Attorney General and from other legal entities that having a public inquiry at the same time as a criminal investigation might risk them impinging on each other,” Abela said in response to a question at a media freedom event in London.
“Now there is also a Council of Europe report that was voted in. We have our reservations on even the facts of that report but I’m not here to talk about our reservations. I’m here to state that we respect institutions and that we aren’t engaging in battles that lead nowhere.”
“The Council of Europe report says that we need a public inquiry within three months. My Prime Minister made it very clear that the public inquiry will be set up so now it’s even more visible that the public inquiry will be set up within the three months that the COE stated.”
“The question now is how we can mitigate the possible differences or impacts that having a public inquiry at the same time as a criminal investigation might have.”
“The position now is that we will abide by the timing that the Council of Europe has dictated but we need to make sure that one doesn’t impinge on the other.”