Prime Minister Robert Abela has called for a “mature analysis” of the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry “beyond partisan arguments”.
“The report merits mature analysis beyond partisan arguments,” Abela tweeted. “Lessons must be drawn and the reforms must continue with greater resolve.”
I have just published the full report of the Public Inquiry Daphne Caruana Galizia. The report merits mature analysis beyond partisan arguments. Lessons must be drawn and the reforms must continue with greater resolve. – RA
— Robert Abela (@RobertAbela_MT) July 29, 2021
The inquiry, carried out by judge Abigail Lofaro and retired judges Michael Mallia and Joseph Said Pullicino, said that the state must shoulder responsibility for the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
“The State created an atmosphere of impunity, generated by the highest levels at the heart of the administration in Castille. The impunity spread like an octopus to regulatory institutions and the Police. This led to the collapse of the rule of law,” the inquiry reads.
“Therefore, the State and the entities that formed it did not recognise, as they should have done, the real and immediate risk, including as a result of the criminal actions of third parties, to the life of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The State also failed to act within its considerable powers and in the exercise of reasonable judgment as it was expected to do to avoid that risk.”
The inquiry found Abela’s predecessor indirectly responsible for the murder for his decision not to take action against his chief of staff Keith Schembri and former Minister Konrad Mizzi when they were implicated in the Panama Papers scandal, and after murder suspect Yorgen Fenech was revealed to be the owner of 17 Black.
“These decisions, along with the trust [in Mizzi and Schembri] expressed by Parliament enhanced the culture of impunity,” the board wrote. “Elements of organised crime relied on this impunity and this culture certainly facilitated the assassination.”
The board also found Cabinet collectively responsible for failing to take action against Mizzi and Schembri.
“While one can free Cabinet of blame for not taking action against Schembri after the Panama Papers, because Muscat shouldered personal responsibility for his behaviour, the same certainly cannot be said after specific criminal allegations in connection with 17 Black were published.”
“At this stage, no Cabinet member should exonerate themselves from their obligation to exercise their will to ensure the people involved shouldn’t remain in Cabinet.”
“This situation crystallised itself a number of months before the assassination, at a time when violent attacks against the journalist had escalated.”