Malta has ordered an independent inquiry into the murder of prominent investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, days before the expiry of a deadline by Europe’s main human rights watchdog.
Caruana Galizia, who wrote a popular anti-corruption blog, was killed by a powerful car bomb blast outside her home on October 16, 2017.
The Maltese government said Prime Minister Joseph Muscat appointed retired Judge Michael Mallia to preside over the inquiry. He would be assisted by a law professor and a retired forensics expert.
The government said that the independent review must not prejudice the active criminal investigation. It added that the inquiry should conclude its work within nine months.
Muscat, a frequent target of Caruana Galizia’s writings, has offered a reward of one million euros ($1.1m) for information leading to the arrest of those behind the journalist’s killing.
Caruana Galizia published accusations of corruption, money laundering and influence peddling by people at the highest levels of Maltese society, all of which they denied.
Her family have repeatedly demanded a public inquiry, saying it was the best hope of uncovering the truth.
The Council of Europe, the leading human rights forum, said in June that the failure to identify who was behind the murder raised questions about the rule of law in Malta.
It gave Maltese authorities until September 26 to start a public inquiry aimed at establishing whether the journalist’s death could have been prevented.