Lawyers: Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation in flagrant breach of ECHR requirements

December 8, 2017

Daphne Caruana Galizia protest 1Doughty Street Chambers has surfaced concerns about the investigation being carried out by Maltese authorities into the death of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a journalist, writer and anti-corruption activist murdered on 16 October when her car exploded.

In its urgent legal advice to the family of Galizia, Doughty Street Chambers, an international specialist law firm, raised issues around the independence of the investigation, which they said was in a “clear and serious breach of Article 2” of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees an effective investigation.

Doughty Street barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jonathan Price said “we are of the firm view that Malta is in flagrant violation of the Article 2 investigative duty and thus in breach of its obligations under the ECHR”, and that “from the information available at this stage it appears highly likely to us that the Maltese authorities have also violated other human rights of Ms Caruana Galizia and the bereaved family, under Articles 2, 3, 8, 10 and/ or 13 ECHR (and indeed under other international human rights treaties and domestic law).”

A further requirement of Article 2 is that the investigation should safeguard the legitimate interests of the next of kin. However, Galizia’s family members have been learning of key developments through grossly inappropriate channels: Twitter accounts belonging to politicians and news headlines.

“The advice from leading legal experts confirms that Malta is in breach of its obligations under European law to investigate the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia thoroughly and fairly”, said Joy Hyvarinen, head of advocacy at Index on Censorship. “The advice raises extremely serious questions about the Maltese police, and Index believes that external, independent investigators must be appointed urgently.”

The lawyers called for swift action to be taken by the authorities in Malta to immediately remove the deputy commissioner from his role and to apologise to the family “for the failure to appropriately update and involve them in the investigation, and alter the way in which information is provided to them to comply with Article 2’s requirements.”

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