Former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and Tunisian strongman Zine el Abidine Ben Ali were stripped of all national honours that had been conferred upon the former North African leaders, who both fell from grace and into disgrace, in this year’s Arab Spring.
The two were stripped of the honour on Thursday and with the publication of the announcement on Friday in the Government Gazette, Malta list of honours has paid good riddance to the two iron-fisted dictators.
Col Gaddafi had been awarded honorary membership of the Xirka Gieħ ir-Reppublika in 1975 and became a member of the National Order of Merit in 2004. Former Tunisian President Ben Ali, meanwhile, was given an honorary membership of the National Order of Merit in 2005.
In the case of Col Gaddafi, according to recent amendments to the Gieħ ir-Reppublika Act approved unanimously by Parliament, the honours had already automatically been withdrawn upon his death. But the notice in the Government Gazette listed the following proviso as that which stripped both dictators of their Maltese honours:
“If the President of Malta, on the advice of the Prime Minister given after he has consulted the Leader of the Opposition, terminates the honorary appointment to the Xirka or to the Order or withdraws the award of a medal on the grounds that the conduct of the person has, according to the opinion given in the said advice, made him unworthy of continuing to be a member of the Xirka or the Order or the holder of a medal or that it is no longer proper to keep the honorary appointment to the Xirka or to the Order or the award of the medal in force.”
The amendment had been approved on 4 October without debate and with full parliamentary consensus, after the government and Opposition had already declared that Maltese honours conferred upon Col Gaddafi will be withdrawn. Opposition leader Joseph Muscat had suggested that similar action be taken with respect to Ben Ali, which the government has also favourably, and rightly in the opinion of most, considered.
Source: Malta Independent Online