Former Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn, who resigned in 2020 at the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, is summoned to the Court of Justice of the Republic on Friday for a possible indictment.
The investigation by the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR) into the government’s management of the Covid-19 epidemic is experiencing its first major development with the convocation, Friday, September 10, of the former Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn for possible indictment.
This possible questioning would be the first in this vast file devoted to the way – criticized, still today – in which the French authorities anticipated and then managed daily the coronavirus epidemic which killed at least 115,000 people in France, according to Public health France.
Lack of protective equipment for caregivers and for the population, mistakes on the need or not to wear masks … The CJR, the only body empowered to judge ministers in the exercise of their functions, has received from the beginning of the epidemic at least 14,500 complaints, said the Attorney General at the Court of Cassation, François Molins on Wednesday.
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A number of them target Agnès Buzyn, now a senior official at the World Health Organization, and who had managed the beginnings of the epidemic within the government.
The one who had notably declared on January 24, 2020 that “the risks of the spread of the coronavirus in the population are very low” – the analysis can “evolve”, she also admitted -, had left the government less than a month later to run for mayor of Paris in vain. She had been replaced at the Ministry of Health by Olivier Véran.
Shortly after the first round of the municipal elections, this trained hematologist had created an uproar by calling the ballot a “masquerade” and by declaring that she “knew that the tsunami wave was in front of us” when she left. of the ministry.
Comments subsequently confirmed in June 2020 before the National Assembly’s commission of inquiry on the management of the health crisis: she had indicated that she had alerted the Elysee and Matignon in January to the potential “danger” of the coronavirus.
Agnès Buzyn is now convened on Friday by the magistrates of the CJR, who have been investigating since July 2020 on this government management of the crisis.
Its complaints committee, which acts as a filter, then considered that nine complaints were admissible and forwarded them to the investigating committee.
Since then, other complaints have been deemed admissible and joined to the investigation, while searches were carried out in mid-October 2020 by investigators from Oclaesp (Central Office for the fight against environmental and public health) and Oclciff (Central Office for Combating Corruption, Financial and Tax Offenses).
Other possible invitations
These searches targeted the homes and offices of Minister of Health Olivier Véran, former Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, and former members of the government Agnès Buzyn, Sibeth Ndiaye, but also the Director General of Health, Jérôme Salomon, and the Director General of Public Health France, Geneviève Chêne.
The investigating committee of the CJR was initially seized of the only offense of “abstaining from fighting a disaster” but, according to Le Monde, Agnès Buzyn is also summoned Friday for a possible indictment for “endangering of the life of others “. AFP could not confirm this information with a judicial source.
At the end of her hearing on Friday, Agnès Buzyn can be indicted or come out under the more favorable status of assisted witness, if she manages to convince the judges that there is not enough serious or concordant evidence that can be held against it.
This major development in this survey could be followed by other invitations targeting current or past members of the executive, including Olivier Véran or Édouard Philippe.
In parallel with the investigation into the government component of the management of the epidemic, investigating judges from the Paris public health center have been carrying out four separate judicial inquiries since November 2020 to examine the responsibilities of the State administration, also implicated by several hundred complainants.