Justice has not yet been done for Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Council of Europe’s top human rights official has said on the fourth anniversary of the journalist’s death.
Dunja Mijatović noted that some important steps have been made since Caruana Galizia was assassinated, with a public inquiry having made several recommendations for rule of law reform.
But there was much more to do, she added.
“Investigations into her killing are still ongoing and despite some progress, full accountability has not yet been established. As the investigations continue, it is crucial that the Maltese authorities identify and prosecute all those responsible,” Mijatović said.
She described Caruana Galizia as a "courageous woman and brilliant journalist" who believed in the power of journalist to build a more just society.
Caruana Galizia was blown up in a car bomb as she drove away from her home on October 16, 2017. She was 53 years old.
One man has admitted to planting and detonating the bomb that killed her and is serving a 15-year sentence for that. Two others are pleading not guilty to that crime. Former business mogul Yorgen Fenech stands accused of complicity in the murder, with prosecutors saying he paid for the killing.
Opposition leader Bernard Grech visited the murder site to pay his respects and mark the occasion.
He urged people to do their part to ensure such dark days were never repeated.
"It will count for nothing if you think that placing a bouquet of flowers today will ensure that injustice, abuse, corruption, bribery, abuse and murder will never happen again," he said. "It is our duty to always remain vigilant," Grech added.
Activists who continue to campaign for justice in the Caruana Galizia case will be hosting a vigil in Valletta to mark the fourth anniversary of her death on Saturday evening. The vigil begins at 7.30pm.
Among those who will be addressing the event is Italian MEP Caterina Chinnici, whose father was killed by the mafia in the 1980s.
European Parliament president David Sassoli was among those to pay tribute to Caruana Galizia on Saturday.
"Daphne Caruana Galizia shed light on what others wanted to keep in the dark. Her work was an example of courageous journalism, the backbone of democracy," Sassoli wrote.
OSCE media freedom representative Teresa Ribeiro praised Caruana Galizia, writing that "she refused to be diverted from pursuing the truth, despite all the physical and legal threats against her."
The public inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s murder, which was appointed at the insistence of the Council of the Europe, concluded that the Maltese state bore responsibility for her death.
In comments on Friday, the Caruana Galizia family called on the government to acknowledge the report conclusions and implement its recommendations.
Doing so would allow Malta to transform itself “from the country known for the bomb blast that took Daphne’s life to a country recognised for its response to that trauma,” the family said.
Human rights and press freedom NGOs from across Europe pressed home that demand, saying on Friday that an independent commission of experts should be appointed to implement the inquiry' recommendations "in a non-partisan and speedy manner."
Doing so would represent an important opportunity "for Malta to begin to repair the damage to its press freedom climate and international image," five leading international press freedom NGOs said.
In her statement, Mijatović also pushed for meaningful change in Malta.
“The rule of law must prevail over might. This means implementing long-due reforms and ensuring that no impunity is tolerated,” she said.
“The murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia concerns us all. It represents a direct attack on democracy in Malta and beyond. Her memory can be honoured by delivering justice to her and her family, as well as to all journalists”.
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