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Malta seeks help to review law enforcement, investigation structures

Government says 'substantial reforms' already made

The government is seeking the assistance of a Council of Europe advisory committee to conduct a review of Malta's legal and institutional structures, amid international criticism.

A letter sent to the so-called Venice Commission says Malta wants to review its law enforcement structures in light of the need to secure proper checks and balances. This will also be done to secure the independence and neutrality of institutions while securing effectiveness and democratic accountability. 

It says that over the past months the law enforcement, investigation and prosecution set-ups were the subject of criticism.

The government published the letter sent by Justice Minister Owen Bonnici to the President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio on Saturday.

The letter follows a meeting held between the government and a representation of the LIBE committee at the European Parliament last month.

Read: 'Civilised and positive' meeting between MEPs and AG

During the past legislature and the present one, a substantial number of reforms were undertaken to strengthen the rule of law, the government assured in a statement to the press.

These include a law deleting time-barring by prescription on claims of corruption by holders of political offices, a whistle-blower protection act, a party financing legislation, a new parliamentary oversight mechanism on appointment of chairpersons of main regulatory authorities and non-career ambassadors, constitutional reforms for the creation of a Judicial Appointments Committee, and reforms in the field of artistic and journalistic freedom of expression.

Malta also joined the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

"Most of those reforms were implemented for the first time in our history as a nation."

The government said it is open to bona-fide dialogue with all international institutions to implement further reforms for a better justice system and a stronger rule of law.

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