At last the evidence of the execution of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia has today started being heard. There will be many hurdles ahead but the process has painfully started.
But the more important initiative being taken today in the aftermath of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination is happening up the road from the Courts in another institution of the republic. Parliament is tonight debating a motion presented by Opposition MP Chris Said who is proposing to Parliament to instruct the prime minister to set up an inquiry run by three retired judges trusted by at least two-thirds of sitting Parliamentarians.
The inquiry would have the job of investigating Daphne Caruana Galizia’s reports of corruption and improper behaviour by any people she accused while in public service. By that definition ministers, civil servants, parliamentarians, judges, magistrates, ambassadors, board appointees and agents with public functions are to be investigated for the allegations or evidence published by Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The inquiry would act independently and would be armed with the resources it needs to do its job and would then recommend what action would be taken depending on its findings.
This is an important motion. It is a challenge to parliamentarians to show the rest of the country and the world they will ensure the silencing of Daphne Caruana Galizia does not have the consequence of stopping her work and its effect.
Any objectors to this motion in parliament today will argue that the institutions set up by law should be trusted to do their job without the need of a new inquiry. If this argument is made it will betray a desire of the objectors for the truth to remain hidden. This will not be the first time this has happened. It will mirror the prime minister’s attempt to keep his secrets hidden when he asked the court to over-rule a lower court’s order to the police to investigate the findings of the Panama Papers.
That episode alone proves the failure of our standard institutions and the need for proper, independent investigations beyond the long arm of the executive.
And of course the objectors should be reminded that the motion presented today is not demanding any action outside the scope of law. On the contrary it is proposing the prime minister exercises his powers under Maltese law to set up independent inquiries.
Let’s see what they’ll do.