Judge Silvio Meli has brushed off warnings from a UK legal firm to the family of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia that the murder investigation isn’t being conducted impartially, going as far as to claim the advice had a “neo-colonialist” tinge to it.
Leading London-based law firm Doughtry Street Chambers has warned the involvement of deputy police commissioner Silvio Valletta in the investigation and the police’s lack of cooperation with the grieving family had placed Malta in flagrant violation of the European Convention of Human Rights.
The advice was given ahead of a court case instigated by the Caruana Galizias to remove Silvio Valletta from the investigation on the grounds that he is married to Gozo minister Justyne Caruana and that he is a board member of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), which Daphne Caruana Galizia had investigated substantially.
However, the legal was not received fondly by Silvio Meli – who is presiding over the Caruana Galzia family’s case against Silvio Valletta.
“The advice undermines the rule of law because it constitutes an attack on the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, which lies at the heart of the sovereignty of law,” Meli said, while condemning the media for “manipulatively orchestrating” the events surrounding the assassination.
The judge urged the Caruana Galizias and the police to seek an amicable solution before proceedings reached the compilation of evidence stage.
Daphne Caruana Galizia’s three sons at a conference in Vienna yesterday
The three sons of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have said their mother’s murder must be investigated by an international team because there must have been “institutional complicity” in her murder.
Matthew, Andrew and Paul Caruana Galizia were invited to speak at a conference in Vienna on the impunity for journalists’ murderers organised by the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) and attended by experts from major journalists’ organisations – including Reporters Without Borders, the International Federation of Journalists and the European Federation of Journalists.
In his speech, Paul Caruana Galizia cited a study from the Committee to Protect Journalists which found that 847 journalists were killed while covering politics and corruption at home since 1992, a figure even more startling considering 526 were killed while covering war.
According to this year’s CPJ Global Impunity Index, there has been full justice, including prosecution of those who commissioned the crime, in only 4 percent cases involving murdered journalists.
“The most dangerous area to cover if you’re a journalist is corruption and politics,” he said. “And the worst thing about it is, that if you get killed doing your job, the same people you were investigating will be the same people leading or interfering in your own murder investigation.”
“Your surviving family, friends and colleagues meanwhile will live on in fear, knowing perhaps that the people who killed you are on the television, in parliament or, worse, linked to the police. This makes no sense. It is in fact the best way to ensure impunity.”
“Investigative journalists will always, in one way or another, report on weak or flawed institutions. If it’s a mining company bribing government officials or a bank holding the proceeds of corruption, it cannot happen without institutional complicity at some level. The journalists’ deaths are then investigated by the very same flawed institutions that so successfully ensured the first crime corruption and the second one, murder.”
When a journalist who covered corruption and politics gets killed by paid assassins, Caruana Galizia said, the starting point of investigations must be that there was institutional complicity at some level in the murder.
“Once we accept that, the next steps are clear: the investigation should not only be independent and impartial but it should, as a matter of course, have international observers with access to everything the national police look at,” he said. “In high profile cases, a complete international team of investigators should be sent in. We need an international mechanism for whistleblowers and the sources of murdered journalists to go to with information. They can’t be expected to go to national authorities.”
Later that same evening, the Caruana Galizias attended a ceremony in Berlin, during which Reporterforum awarded Daphne Caruana Galizia an honorary prize for investigative journalism. During the ceremony, renowned journalist Gunter Walroff delivered a speech in honour of Daphne Caruana Galizia, which was received by a standing ovation from the people in the crowd.
— Frederik Obermaier (@f_obermaier) December 11, 2017
“German reporters commemorated the brave journalist and fighter for transparency Daphne Caruana Galizia who was killed in Malta this year,” German journalist Frederick Obermaier, who broke the Panama Papers, said in a tweet. “Daphne, we will never forget you!”