Caruana Galizia, a prominent Maltese anti-corruption journalist, was killed in October 2018 when a bomb in her rental car was detonated by a remote control device on a country road near her home.
Her family has long maintained that she was murdered because of her work to uncover suspected corruption within the Maltese government, and her death sparked a political crisis in the southern European country. Vincent Muscat, one of three suspects accused of his murder, pleaded guilty in February.
Prime Minister Robert Abela on Thursday released the findings of the investigation, which began in December 2019.
At a press conference, he said the board “confirms unequivocally that the state was not directly involved in the assassination. However, he also declares that the State must take responsibility for the serious shortcomings linked in particular to governance and the protection of journalists ”.
He added that the state “has failed to recognize that they should have real and immediate risks, including criminal intent by third parties, to the life of Daphne Caruana Galizia”, and failed to took reasonable steps to avoid the threat.
Abela said he felt “a duty to apologize to the family of the late Ms. Daphne Caruana Galizia and to all who feel aggrieved by this dark episode in our nation’s history.”
Caruana Galizia’s murder sparked anger across the continent and sparked a long-running scandal that claimed the life of Abela’s predecessor as Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who resigned in January 2020 but still denied any wrongdoing or implication in the journalist’s death. The former leader has no connection with Vincent Muscat.
Abela tweeted Thursday that the report “deserves mature analysis beyond partisan arguments. Lessons must be learned and reforms must continue with greater determination ”.
The Caruana Galizia family said in a statement that the findings of the investigation “confirm the conviction our family had since the time Daphne was murdered: that her murder was a direct result of the collapse of the rule of law. and the impunity that the state granted to the corrupt. network on which she was reporting. “
The family said they hoped the findings will lead to “the restoration of the rule of law in Malta, effective protection of journalists and an end to the impunity that corrupt officials Daphne investigated continue to enjoy.” Daphne and her work will live in ensuring that the recommendations of this survey drive lasting change. “
Joseph Muscat said in a statement on Thursday: “It should be noted that the investigation concluded that the state had no prior knowledge of the assassination or was involved in the assassination. The report also unequivocally states that I was in no way involved in the assassination. “
However, despite his “very serious reservations about the inadequacies of the investigation”, Muscat added: “I accept the said conclusions as I have always done in the past out of respect for the Institutions”.
“As I said when I announced that I would be stepping down as Prime Minister, I was doing it to take on responsibilities that were mine and also those that were not, including those mentioned in this survey. I paid the ultimate political price, ”he added. he added.
The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation said in a statement: “This report is a milestone in the campaign to ensure that the Maltese state is held accountable for its positive obligation to protect journalists. We call on the government to accept the recommendations of the inquiry and to publish its action plan without delay.
“This is a historic opportunity to ensure real change for the safety of journalists and a process of national appeasement following the traumatic assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia on October 16, 2017,” they added.