It was an otherwise normal Maltese afternoon. One of those beautiful, balmy days, typical of late summer, characterised by the sun, surrounded by the poetic beauty of the blue sky. It was five years ago today.
She posted a blogpost from her living room, reached for her keys, left home, entered her car, drove a few metres and then it happened.
The blast reverberated across the island and travelled far and wide beyond even our wildest imaginations. Investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, was murdered, but her legend lives on.
That may have been her last blogpost, but it was certainly not her last say. A Maltese Socialist Prime Minister has had to resign since because of her and so did two of his Ministers. And yet, on that fateful day, a wound came apart, a gaping wound in the collective Maltese unconscious.
Under Socialist rule, Malta has become a structural rule of law problem for Europe.
Justice delayed, justice denied
Her family and friends Malta and Europe, have been waiting for five long years for answers.
Only one of the hitmen has so far been convicted of her murder. The trials of the other alleged hitmen and of the alleged mastermind are still being slowed down by countless attempts to derail them.
Five years on, we are none the wiser on the investigation of the involvement of Maltese politicians in the murder. We do not know whether the Maltese police confiscated the mobile phone and computer of the Maltese Deputy Chief of Police who was allegedly passing on information about the murder to the alleged murderer himself.
Despite the political cover that the Socialists in the European Parliament have given the Maltese Government, there are still too many unanswered questions. The silence is deafening. Truth and justice in Malta still remain blocked, and the sheer obstruction to justice is systematic and stifling. Then there is the sticky question of impunity at the highest levels.
Over the years, she had put out in the open a mountain of evidence on corruption about the former Maltese Socialist Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri and his senior Minister, Konrad Mizzi. And yet they still seem to be going about their business as if nothing happened. Why has there not been one single prosecution?
She spoke truth to power. She was fearless and today we know that she was assassinated for her investigative work into Maltese Government corruption.
When will Malta rid itself of impunity?
More than a year ago, an independent inquiry in Malta found that the State of Malta is responsible for this journalist’s assassination. A state that is found responsible for assassination of an independent journalist is, by definition, in serious breach of the rule of law, which is among the values enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.
Far from shouldering any responsibility, the Maltese State has not taken any meaningful action whatsoever to implement the several recommendations stemming from the inquiry. How can we look the other way? Isn’t Malta also a European Union country?
And what about the Socialists in the European Parliament? Do they not have a role to play? Are they comfortable with the Maltese Socialist Party in their midst? The last time their leader Iratxe Gárcia Pérez travelled to Malta, she shied away from mentioning Daphne Caruana Galizia when standing next to Prime Minister Abela. What about the Socialist European Commissioner Frans Timmermans? When did he last speak about this?
The EPP Group remains steadfast in its search for justice for Daphne and to end impunity in Malta once and for all.
That is why we will continue putting this issue on the agenda of the European Parliament, as we will do next week, for as long as we need, to find justice for Daphne.