Breaking News
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

Malta government carries responsibility for journalist's murder, inquiry finds

GlobalJul 29, 2021 20:00
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sign reading "Daphne was right" is photographed at the Great Siege Square as people gather calling for the resignation of Joseph Muscat, following the arrest of one of the country's most prominent businessmen, as part of the investigation in

By Christopher Scicluna

VALLETTA (Reuters) -An independent inquiry into the car bomb murder of anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta found on Thursday that the state had to bear responsibility after creating a "culture of impunity".

Caruana Galizia was killed in a massive explosion as she drove out of her home on Oct. 16, 2017.

Prosecutors believe top businessman Yorgen Fenech, who had close ties with senior government officials, masterminded the murder. Fenech, who is awaiting trial for association to murder, denies all responsibility.

Three men suspected of setting off the bomb were arrested in December 2017. One has since pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain and is serving a 15-year jail term. The other two are awaiting trial. The self-confessed middleman has turned state witness and was granted a pardon.

The inquiry, conducted by one serving judge and two retired judges, found that a culture of impunity was created by the highest echelons of power within the government of the time.

"The tentacles of impunity then spread to other regulatory bodies and the police, leading to a collapse in the rule of law," said the panel's report, which was published by Prime Minister Robert Abela.

Abela, who succeeded Joseph Muscat as premier in 2020, told reporters he wanted to apologise to Caruana Galizia's family and all those affected by the state's failures. "The murder was a dark chapter in the history of Malta and it would be a shame if lessons are not learnt," he told a news conference.

The investigative report was another step in the healing process, Abela added, and he summoned parliament for an emergency sitting on Friday morning to discuss it.

The report said the state failed to recognise the real and immediate risks to Caruana Galizia's life and failed to take reasonable steps to avoid them.

Caruana Galizia's family issued a statement saying they hoped its findings would lead to the restoration of the rule of

law in Malta, effective protection for journalists and an end to the impunity that the corrupt officials Daphne

investigated continue to enjoy."

Muscat resigned in January 2020 following Fenech's arrest. He was never accused of any wrongdoing.

Muscat wrote on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) on Thursday that the report "unequivocally states that I was in no way implicated in the murder...It is to be noted that the inquiry found that the state had no prior knowledge of or was involved in the assassination."

Media later also revealed close links between Fenech, ministers, and senior police officers.

The judges called in their report for immediate action to rein in and regulate links between politicians and big business.

It was clear, the inquiry board said, that the assassination of Caruana Galizia was either intrinsically or directly linked to her investigative work.

Reuters has published several investigations into the Caruana Galizia murder, including in April 2018, in November 2018 and March this year


The report's conclusions do not oblige Malta's government to take any action, but the opposition Nationalist Party called on Muscat and Abela to shoulder their responsibilities.

"The state inquiry is clear: Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder was enabled by the collective inaction of Joseph Muscat's cabinet, many of whom still hold public office. Robert Abela must ensure that responsibility for this culture of impunity is shouldered," opposition leader Bernard Grech said in a statement.

In their report, the judges attributed indirect responsibility to Muscat for the circumstances leading to the murder, citing his failure to act against his chief of staff Keith Schembri and former energy minister Konrad Mizzi over their secret companies, revealed in the Panama Papers, and their alleged links to 17 Black, a secret company owned by Fenech.

Muscat, Schembri and Mizzi have not faced any charges linked to Caruana Galizia and have publicly denied involvement. Schembri and Mizzi did not comment on Thursday's report.

The report said decisions by Muscat had strengthened the culture of impunity in which people whom the assassinated journalist wrote about operated.

Repubblika, a rule-of law group that held daily public protests in the run-up to Muscat's resignation, called another protest outside the prime minister's office for Friday evening.

It said the state should offer compensation to the Caruana Galizia family and the government should conduct a reform that excludes from public office every person responsible for shortcomings outlined in the inquiry.

Abela said on Thursday he did not rule out the possibility of compensation to the family.

The inquiry heard evidence from the police, government officials, the Caruana Galizia family and journalists, among others.

Malta government carries responsibility for journalist's murder, inquiry finds

Related Articles

Carlos The jackal sentenced to life in jail
Carlos The jackal sentenced to life in jail By Reuters - Sep 23, 2021

PARIS (Reuters) - Carlos the Jackal, the leftist militant who carried out attacks across the globe in the 1970s and 1980s, had the life sentence he had been given for a deadly...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email