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Malta must establish accountability for murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, say human rights experts

16 October 2019

GENEVA/STRASBOURG/VIENNA (16 October 2019) – Two years after the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, independent human rights experts say the authorities have failed to fully investigate the killing.

Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, and Harlem Désir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, issue the following statement ahead of the anniversary of the murder:

"The Government of Malta remains far behind in its obligation to ensure that investigations in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia are conducted in a prompt, effective, independent and impartial manner.

Two years have passed. No convictions, no trials of ringleaders and masterminds. On the contrary, posthumous libel suits continue to target the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia and makeshift memorials of her are frequently removed. This only adds to the sorrow and pain of her family and loved ones.

To date, three men have been charged with the murder; after almost 20 months, they were finally ordered to stand trial. However, ending impunity requires holding accountable not only those who carried out the murder, but everyone complicit in it, including the masterminds behind it. Those masterminds remain unaccountable for now.

The tragic anniversary of her murder reminds us of the costs borne by journalists, particularly those who seek to hold the powerful to account. Investigative journalism embodies the central values of access to information and robust reporting and debate to democratic society. Journalism, as Daphne Caruana Galizia and countless others around the world have practiced it, is a service in the public interest. Attacks on journalists not only deny their right to life. They deny the public's right to know.

Ahead of  the anniversary of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia that shook people in Europe and beyond we urge the Government of Malta to uphold its obligations to respect and ensure freedom of expression and press freedom, and to investigate the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, in accordance with the standards of international human rights law, such as those of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and of the European Convention on Human Rights.

We call on the authorities to do their utmost and to speed up the process of establishing accountability and shed the full light on this horrendous crime. This must become Malta's top political priority.

The echo of the explosion that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia is still ringing in our memory with the ultimate question: When will justice be served, and bring a little comfort to her loved ones? The Government of Malta owes an answer to Daphne, her family, Maltese society and all journalists around the world."


*The UN experts: Ms. Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.  The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. 

Ms. Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent and impartial non-judicial institution established in 1999 by Council of Europe to promote awareness of and respect for human rights in the 47 Council of Europe member states.

Harlem Désir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media was established in 1997 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The Representative has an early warning function and provides rapid response to serious non-compliance with regard to free media and freedom of expression.

For more information and media requests, please contact Mr Daniel Mogster (Tel: + 41 22 917 9570 / [email protected] ) or write to [email protected]

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:

Jeremy Laurence – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9838 / [email protected])  

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