The Democratic Party has called for the setting up of an independent Truth and Justice Commission into the unsolved murders of Karin Grech, Raymond Caruana and Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The party put forward amendments to the Nationalist Party’s motion for an inquiry into the journalist’s murder, which will be debated on Thursday afternoon.
The commission would run along the lines of an inquiry usually employed for major human rights violations.
PD’s amendments would widen the scope, setting up an inquiry body led by the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner and whose members would be completely independent of politics.
The commission would be tasked with investigating the circumstances of the three murders - in 1977, 1986 and 2017 - and establishing whether any responsibility could be attributed to the state.
It would also advise on whether the human rights of the victims or their families had been breached, and make recommendations on new laws to strengthen the Maltese political environment and freedom of expression, including journalistic protection.
PD's proposal follows legal advice issued to the government on behalf of the Caruana Galizia family recommending an inquiry into the murder led independently of Maltese politics, government and police, such as by international judges.
What caused these killings? Could our State do more to stop these killings? Did the political climate surrounding the murder serve as an encouragement to commit these crimes?
“The assassinations of Karen Grech, Raymond Caruana and Daphne Caruana Galizia are three of the most painful moments of the First Republic,” PD leader Godfrey Farrugia said.
“Each case raises serious questions: What caused these killings? Could our State do more to stop these killings? Did the political climate surrounding the murder serve as an encouragement to commit these crimes? There are thousands of these and other questions that need to be answered. In each case we need to get truth, justice and lasting change.”
High-profile past examples of Truth and Justice Commissions have included the one set up by Nelson Mandela to investigate apartheid in South Africa, as well as the 2009 investigation into slavery in Mauritius and others set up after civil war, genocide or the fall of dictatorial regimes.
Dr Farrugia said such a commission was called for in the case of the three Maltese murders because each carried major social implications and took place against the backdrop of a fraught political climate.
Moreover, he said, there was a burning sense of injustice in the three unsolved cases, and that while successful criminal prosecution may bring some justice, it may not be sufficient to bring closure for the relatives of the victims.