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“The idea is to have more transparency, which is paramount to a stronger democracy” – Prime Minister, Dr Robert Abela

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During a meeting with Council of Europe
rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt, Prime Minister Robert Abela said that Malta will
leave no stone unturned in ensuring a better justice system and a more robust
rule of law leading to strong governance.

Dr Abela explained how the government is
adjourning the system of appointment of the judiciary. In 2014, Malta had
already moved from a system where the Prime Minister had complete discretion to
a system where an appointments committee, made up of the Ombudsman, Attorney
General, Chief Justice, Auditor General and the President of Chamber of
Advocates approve a number of candidates, and the Prime Minister can only
appoint members from that pool.

“Following recommendations by the
Venice Commission, the government is now looking at a system where members of
the judiciary will form, at least, half of the composition of the appointments
commission. The idea is to have more transparency, which is paramount to a
stronger democracy,” said the Prime Minister.

Dr Abela remarked that Malta will not
drag its feet in implementing the necessary changes. “I have been in
office for one month and immediately started implementing such changes”.

The Prime Minister mentioned the new
method of appointment of the Police Commissioner. Rather than the previous
system, which had been in place for years, the new method will introduce a
public call not only for serving police members, and candidates will be
scrutinized by the Public Service Commission. The best two candidates will be
referred to the Cabinet and the one nominated will be referred to Parliament’s
Public Appointments Committee and subject to a public grilling.

Malta has also implemented a number of
recommendations of rapporteur Omtzigt. First and foremost, the setting up a
public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Such an inquiry,
which is a first for Malta, is moving at a fast pace, and witnesses are being
heard every week by three judges which have been agreed upon with the Caruana
Galizia family.

Other important changes include the
division in the functions of the Attorney General, whereby the State Advocate
will be a chief consultant to the government and has been chosen through a
public call supervised by Judge Michael Mallia, while the Attorney General will
be the public prosecutor. The government is also in the process of splitting
the functions of the Police Force, whereby the police will carry out
investigate duties, and it will then be up to the Attorney General to lead the
prosecution.

“We have started on a strong
footing, but we are ambitious to do even more. In principle, we agree on most
of the recommendations in the Venice Commission report and we are currently in
dialogue on their method of implementation. I look forward to being scrutinized
on the delivery of these changes. Malta is a good faith state which stands for
democracy, rule of law and governance,” concluded the Prime
Minister. 

The post “The idea is to have more transparency, which is paramount to a stronger democracy” – Prime Minister, Dr Robert Abela appeared first on maltawinds.com.

Original article found on Malta Winds

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