The EU body calling for an independent public inquiry into the background surrounding the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, says it welcomes Malta’s decision to follow through with the process.

Pieter Omtzigt, the rapporteur leading the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, says that the, ‘inquiry should be conducted by a truly independent panel chaired by a retired or international judge and including trusted representatives of civil society with no political or government links.’

Omtzigt stresses that the basis of the inquiry should be to explore, ‘how this assassination could have been prevented, how similar murders can be avoided in the future and what needs to be done to ensure that cases of high-level corruption such as those disclosed by Daphne Caruana Galizia are properly investigated without journalists having to risk their lives.’

PACE’s reply follows yesterday afternoon’s announcement by Malta’s Foreign Minister Carmelo Abela, that Malta would be taking up the request to carry out the inquiry.

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Abela said that the government will launch a public inquiry into the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in the coming months, keeping within the three-month deadline as set by the Council of Europe.

Abela explained that the issue of the public inquiry is of a legal nature, adding that this might impinge on the on-going investigations. He said that the Malta has reservations with the content of the Council of Europe’s report. Further, Abela added that the question now is on how to mitigate the impact of having a public inquiry on on-going investigations.

Not impinge on criminal investigations

Omzigt stresses at the end of his statements that if the investigation is, ‘Carried out in this way, it will not impinge on the ongoing criminal investigations against the suspected killers in detention and the organisers and instigators of the crime who are still at large.’