Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Thursday did not rule out the appointment of a public inquiry into whether journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder could have been prevented.
He was reacting to a resolution by the Council of Europe calling for such an inquiry within three months.
The Caruana Galizia family also reacted to the resolution, (see below) saying it was a step closer to the truth that Daphne would still be alive today if corruption in Malta were properly investigated. It also insisted that Dr Muscat "has nothing to fear but the truth."
Dr Muscat said he would be seeking fresh advice on the matter. He pointed out that the Attorney General had already clearly advised against such an inquiry due to ongoing court proceedings against the three people accused of carrying out the bomb plot.
“I will not be the one responsible for a public inquiry destroying the case against the three accused,” he said.
Dr Muscat expressed his reservation about the Dutch rapporteur who steered through the Council of Europe report.
He said an Opposition member played an active role in drafting the report.
The Prime Minister said he would be engaging with the Council of Europe about the report.
Despite strong lobbying efforts by the government against the report over the past few months, an online register of the votes show government representatives Manuel Mallia and Rosianne Cutajar did not actually vote against its final adoption.
Asked why they did not vote against the final resolution, Dr Muscat simply replied: “I think this is a case in point.”
Many of the amendments to the report pushed by the government, which were largely shot down, found support from Azerbaijan. Azeri MPs also voted against the adoption of the final report.
Caruana Galizia family reaction
The Caruana Galizia family in a reaction to the Council of Europe resolution said this was a step closer to the truth: "that Daphne would still be alive today if corruption in Malta were properly investigated and prosecuted by the authorities, if Malta’s institutions functioned as they should, and if Malta were a properly functioning democracy.
"We have done everything we could as a family for this basic truth to emerge.
"We now ask for the support of the international community to actively monitor Malta’s implementation of the resolution's most important recommendation: that the Maltese Prime Minister set in motion an independent and impartial judicial public inquiry into the circumstances of Daphne's assassination. He has nothing to fear but the truth," the family said.
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