As we wait for the police to arraign the people they suspect have killed Daphne Caruana Galizia, there is plenty of scepticsm around. Obviously the only assessment that counts is a conviction, confirmed on appeal if any. That will take years.
But with the courts we will see the evidence and hope for justice. We will be standing one step behind the family of the victim who have sufferred and will continue to suffer most as a result of this crime.
There are many reasons for the scepticism.
Triumphalism and political exploitation always cloud the cold, forensic facts and Labour seems incapable of containing its delight.
We have little experience of political killings and of targeted political assassinations, even in the attempt. We have seen cover-ups and frame-ups, and we have seen miscarraige of justice, but we have not seen perpetrators paying for their crimes. That makes our experience discouraging.
The well rehearsed, well prepared PR stunts of the navy seals video, the solemn press conference, and whatever we have yet to see around the arraignment give us a sense of deja vu. Many replayed in their heads the arrest of the so called hijackers of a Libyan plane a year ago and thought that a scene contrived struggles to convince us to suspend our disbelief.
The government is strongly motivated in a certain type of outcome and that a crime perpetrated by people in the underworld does not contaminate the political class though it is known that certain people in politics and certain people who fancy themselves lords of the underworld are indeed well and truly connected.
None of this is genuine reason to believe the people arrested are not connected to the killing. This is not a Pietru Pawl Busuttil scenario. We have here people who have committed several crimes in their careers and paid for few of them. They are not just likely and usual suspects. From what we are now hearing the police has good reason to be confident their detainees executed the crime.
Hopefully the police can prove this because even the smallest tools in the killing of a journalist should be punished severely for depriving us of Daphne.
Of course we don’t know the identity of all 10 people under arrest. We dont know if the mastermind is in jail waiting arraignment. I have heard of many names in the last 24 hours, none of which could be confirmed.
While we wait we remind each other that we must be pleased that participants in the killing of Daphne, even those with a minor role, are brought to justice. Pleased, but not content. We must not rest until the people who ordered this, permitted this and paid for this are also brought to justice.
And we must remember there can be no justice without change.
Finding the killers and bringing them to justice changes nothing from the context in which this assassination occurred. It changes nothing from the state’s failure to create a secure environment for the press to function freely while challenging authority. It changes nothing from the weakness of the institutions that continue to fail to act on political crimes in spite of mounting evidence. It changes nothing from the political responsibility of a state of affairs where people in authority benefit from the death of a journalist.
It changes nothing from the need to fight to restore the proper functioning of the institutions that should have acted on what Daphne wrote and should have protected her even as she did so.