MEPs warn ‘sense of urgency’ in ending impunity has been lost

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MEPs have warned that a sense of urgency in fighting impunity in Malta has been lost, despite many “fundamental flaws” persisting.

The MEPs, who form part of the Civil Liberties Committee, were in Malta for three days to take stock of the latest developments as regards the rule of law, recent judicial reforms, safety of journalists, anti-corruption measures, and citizenship and residence by investment schemes.

Dutch MEP Sophie in’t Veldt said that the pace of reforms needs to be increased, adding that the delegation was shocked that the alleged mastermind behind Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder has not yet been convicted, 4 and a half years after her murder.

“Without justice being served, trust cannot be achieved,” she warned, as another MEP complained of “excruciatingly slow justice”.

In’t Veldt added that, though some reforms took place, many felt half-hearted or like the government implemented them because it had no other choice.

“Even if some reforms were implemented to the letter, we worry about the spirit behind the law,” she said.

MEP Franco Roberti noted that “reforms were done because they had no other choice- nothing would’ve been done if there wasn’t outside pressure”.

The delegation said their most pressing concern was the government’s insistence to retain the passports’ scheme. “We need to stand with Ukrainians, we cannot allow any Russian money in. Malta is only country still executing the scheme,” MEP Vladimir Bilčík said. He added that the authorities insisted that they were waiting for European authorities’ decisions.

“They need to take a political decision, not just wait for one,” he said.

MEP and former anti-mafia judge Franco Roberti said he was shocked about the lack of specialisations of magistrates in Malta. “It is not only about the efficiency of magistrates, but also their quality,” he said.

A Europol representative also told the MEPs that no more help had been solicited from Malta following the end of their help with the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

“Malta is at the crossroads of the transnational mafia,” he remarked, adding that magistrates need more funding to specialise in investigations.

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