Photos show AFM illegally forced migrants out of Maltese waters and sent them to Sicily

By
2020-05-21T11:40:47+02:00Wed, 20th May '20, 10:15|

Photo: Avvenire Photos and videos published today by Avvenire and The Guardian show military operations conducted by the Armed Forces within sight of Malta’s coast where migrants were allegedly threatened and forced out of Maltese waters and put on a route to Sicily. The press reports quote multiple sources say that AFM soldiers [...]

Malta fails to regain Europe’s trust – Il Foglio

By
2020-05-20T09:30:02+02:00Wed, 20th May '20, 09:30|

Malta features on Italy’s Il Foglio today under the headline “L’Isola dei Sovranisti”. ‘Sovranismo’ is a political term normally used to describe far right politicians that argue for the autonomous self-reliance of states and for countries to act in their own interest without regard to international law or cooperation. It is used for the policies [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (17) Conclusion

By
2020-05-19T14:34:13+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 15:20|

In spite of the concerns expressed in this report, Repubblika wishes to make it abundantly clear that we are desirous of reform. We warn, however, that a reform is only welcome if it can promise solutions to the challenges we have today of an elected tyranny which exists above the law. This is why any [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (16) The Police

By
2020-05-19T14:31:42+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 15:15|

The government’s silence on this matter appears to be motivated by changes it has recently introduced to the manner of appointing the Police Commissioner. The government appears to expect no one to notice the elements of the recommendations made by the Commission that have been left out in the changes that are currently being implemented. [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (15) House of Representatives

By
2020-05-19T15:31:39+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 15:14|

Unlike its reaction to the Commission’s recommendations with respect to the President, the government provides absolutely no reaction to the Commission’s recommendations with respect to Parliament, and does not undertake to review the matter as part of a discussion on constitutional reform. Although this highly complex issue should indeed be dealt with as part of [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (14) Specialised Tribunals

By
2020-05-19T14:26:24+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 15:10|

We do not believe it is accidental that the government has ignored this consideration. Indeed, what the Commission describes as a danger, i.e. the risk of parallel jurisdiction, is from the point of view of the government, a desirable confusion. These specialised tribunals are an opportunity to dispense with the basic guarantees given by the [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (12) The President

By
2020-05-19T14:21:29+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 15:01|

22. As explained elsewhere in this document, the government’s decision to postpone its response on the Commission’s recommendations in this regard, renders their acceptance of other recommendations, that bestow the President with executive authority, a very dangerous development. We register our deep concern that if the powers of the President are increased, whilst the Prime [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (11) Persons of trust

By
2020-05-19T13:53:30+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 15:00|

It is our view that the present system of appointment of persons of trust goes against the provisions of the constitution. There should certainly be room for appointing a limited number of collaborators inside ministerial secretariats, who may owe their position to the trust the Minister has in them. But we do not believe there [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (10) Permanent Secretaries

By
2020-05-19T13:51:50+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:55|

The civil service has been progressively weakened by the system of short-term appointments to headship positions and the creaming off of certain positions to foundations, corporations and agencies. The Principal Permanent Secretary (PPS) has, ever since the post was created, exercised powers that can only be reined in by a sufficiently powerful and independent Public [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (9) The Prime Minister

By
2020-05-19T14:54:07+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:47|

16. Replacing the power of the Prime Minister to appoint persons in high office by transferring that power to “the government” is a purely cosmetic development. The fact the government agrees with this, rather confirms this view. The government is, probably correctly, equating the Commission’s meaning of the term “the government” with “the Cabinet of [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (8) The Ombudsman

By
2020-05-19T13:48:06+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:45|

13. Elevating the legal basis for the Ombudsman to the constitution is ‘a welcome step’. But the government in no way responds to the correct observation made by the Commission that “requests for information (from the Ombudsman to the government) are frequently not complied with” (our emphasis). Nothing in the changes proposed by the government [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (6) Prosecution

By
2020-05-19T13:44:12+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:30|

7. As the government acknowledges in its letter, legislative changes in this regard that have already been adopted by Parliament remain theoretical. No time frames are given for implementation, in spite of the fact that the letter of the government is headlined “implementation of the recommendations”. We do not think these delays are innocent. As [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (5) Judicial discipline

By
2020-05-19T13:41:31+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:25|

6. We do not understand why it is still necessary for a qualified majority in Parliament to confirm whether a judge or magistrate should be removed from office once the Commission for the Administration of Justice (CAJ) and, as is proposed, the Constitutional Court, have confirmed that the criteria for removal established at law have [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (4) The Chief Justice

By
2020-05-19T13:39:53+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:20|

5. The government’s response creates the false impression that “civil society has publicly praised” the appointment of the new Chief Justice by a resolution approved by a qualified majority in the House of Representatives. Although the government may have been referring to views expressed by others, Repubblika has indeed expressed its delight at the choice [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (3) Judicial appointments

By
2020-05-19T13:37:15+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:15|

The remarks made by the government ignore the context in which this reform is being undertaken, and how this has evolved since the Commission published its report in December 2018. Since March 2013, the government has focused on manipulating the composition of the judiciary, to ensure it can exert influence on its decisions in a [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (2) General Observatio

By
2020-05-19T13:33:49+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:10|

The document published on 13 May 2020 purports to provide details on how the recommendations of the Commission in its opinion 940/2018 are to be implemented. It is significant to note that this is the first substantive reaction from the government to an opinion it was served with 18 months ago. The document does not [...]

Repubblika on rule of law reforms: (1) Introduction

By
2020-05-19T14:35:41+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 14:05|

In this and the upcoming posts, I am transcribing Repubblika's response to the government's proposals after the Venice Commission's recommendations on rule of law reforms in Malta, starting with Repubblika's president Vicki Ann Cremona's opening letter:   18 May 2020 Mr Thomas Markert Director and Secretary European Commission for Democracy through Law Council of Europe [...]

Silvio Schembri is a proper eejit. And a bully.

By
2020-05-19T11:15:22+02:00Tue, 19th May '20, 11:15|

So, the economy minister felt his dignity punctured by a someone pointing out to him that he was breaching the laws enacted by his own government on social distancing during a ministerial PR do. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for ministers to comply within their own rules. I don’t understand why they’re not [...]