The family members of Ján Kuciak and Daphne Caruana Galizia, the journalists assassinated in Slovakia and Malta for their journalistic inquiries have sent a letter to the Council of European Union on Thursday, asking them to choose Laura Codruta Kovesi as the head of the European Prosecutor’s Office, arguing she is most qualified to take this job.
The letter has been sent to Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, Secretary General of the Council of the European Union, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, MEP Mr Claude Moraes and MEP Ms Ingeborg Grässle.
“On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, the Council of the EU observed that the impunity with which attacks on the press too often occur encourages further violence against journalists. But it is also the failure to prosecute the crimes that journalists expose that results in the failure to prevent their murders.
We know this from experience. A collapse in the rule of law in our countries, Malta and Slovakia, led to the murders of our family members, Daphne Caruana Galizia and Ján Kuciak. Those same failings currently threaten the integrity of their murder investigations.
In appointing the first head of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Council must now make a choice that will either give meaning to its declaration, or take it away.
We call on the Council to choose the bravest and most distinguished candidate for the job, a woman made from the same mould as Daphne and Ján: Laura Codruța Kövesi.
Ms Kövesi is the most qualified candidate and has shown herself willing to bring charges forward when all other institutions within a member state have failed to act, a test which no other candidate has undergone, let alone passed. The EU can no longer assume that member states will guarantee the rule of law and fight corruption of their own accord.
Daphne and Ján cried to the heavens for the criminals they investigated to be prosecuted.
Most—in Daphne’s case, all—remain free. De facto immunity from prosecution emboldened their murderers, who operated complex cross-border rackets that should fall under the EPPO’s mandate.
Ms Kövesi knows what it takes to prevent more murders of journalists who investigate corruption, money laundering and serious tax fraud.
We know that candidatures become chips in a game of political bargaining between member states, but money laundering and the corruption of national authorities are a serious matter of cross-border security that cannot become subject to political compromise.
Romania opposes the candidature of Ms Kövesi and is lobbying for another candidate.
Choosing a candidate other than Ms Kövesi would signal to European citizens that the EU prioritises a false sense of harmony over the protection of their fundamental rights. To choose Ms Kövesi would say that there is no room for compromise in the deadly fight against corruption.
We are victims of what a failure to stand against corruption will lead to: car bombs and bullets to the head.
We call on the Council to protect and empower brave people like our wife and mother, our son and brother, and, indeed, people like Ms Kövesi herself.
The European Parliament has established that Ms Kövesi has the best credentials to lead the EPPO. An independent ranking also put her first. She has our support and we hope to count on yours too.
We would be grateful if you could forward this letter to the Presidency trio,” reads the letter signed by Jozef Kuciak and his family and Peter, Matthew, Andrew and Paul Caruana Galizia.