Covid-19: Agnès Buzyn indicted for “endangering the lives of others” for her management of the epidemic

This is a judicial first concerning the government management of the Covid-19 epidemic. The former Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn was indicted on Friday September 10 for “Endangering the life of others” at the end of his hearing by magistrates of the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR), which is investigating the management of the Covid-19 epidemic, we learned from the general prosecutor’s office of the CJR.

The first personality to be implicated in this vast case, Buzyn was also placed under the more favorable status of assisted witness for “Voluntary abstention from fighting a disaster”, said the same source.

She had arrived shortly before 9 a.m. at the CJR, the only one empowered to judge ministers in the exercise of their functions, which has been investigating the management of the epidemic since July 2020.

Read the context: Agnès Buzyn summoned by the CJR for an indictment for “endangering the life of others”

“Today is a great opportunity for me to explain myself and get the facts straight. I will not let the government’s action, my action as Minister, be soiled when we have done so much to prepare our country for a global health crisis, which, I remind you, is still going on ”, she then declared to the swarm of journalists present, accompanied by her lawyer Me Eric Dezeuze.

At the end of his hearing, Buzyn could either be indicted or emerge under the more favorable status of assisted witness, if she managed to convince the judges that there was not enough serious or concordant evidence that could be used against her.

The indictment of Mme Buzyn is the first in this vast dossier devoted to the way – still criticized today – in which the French authorities have anticipated, then managed on a daily basis, the Covid-19 epidemic, which has killed at least 115,000 people in the country, according to Public Health France.

At the very beginning of 2020, Mme Buzyn held a central role, at the head of the Ministry of Health (May 2017-February 2020). As the world began to fear after the alarming information coming from Wuhan, China, the one who is a hematologist by training spoke at the Elysee Palace on January 24, 2020 to say: “The risks of the coronavirus spreading in the population are very low. “ Before specifying that this analysis could ” to evolve “. In mid-February, she was replaced by Olivier Véran, following his decision to leave the government to run for mayor of Paris.

Read also Indictment of Agnes Buzyn by the CJR: what you need to know

“We should have stopped everything, it was a masquerade”

But a few days after her electoral defeat, as France confined herself, she caused an uproar by saying in The world March 17, 2020: “When I left the ministry, I cried because I knew the tsunami wave was in front of us. “ “From the start I only thought of one thing: the coronavirus. We should have stopped everything, it was a masquerade ”, had she said to the World, about the electoral process.

Read the story: Agnès Buzyn’s regrets: “We should have stopped everything, it was a masquerade”

Comments confirmed in June 2020 before the commission of inquiry of the National Assembly on the management of the health crisis: she had explained to have alerted the Elysee and Matignon in January on the ” danger “ potential of the coronavirus.

Since then, the CJR, the only institution empowered to judge sitting ministers, has received many complaints related to Covid-19, “14,500”, according to the Attorney General at the Court of Cassation, François Molins, Wednesday.

Lack of protective equipment for caregivers and for the population, misconceptions about the need or not to wear masks, etc. Nine of these complaints were deemed admissible by the CJR’s complaints committee, which acts as a filter, and allowed an investigation to be opened in July 2020.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Government management of the health crisis soon to be at the heart of a judicial investigation

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 Violations of the Environment and public health) and Oclciff (Central Office for Combating Corruption, Financial and Tax Offenses).

Upcoming auditions

These searches targeted the homes and offices of the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, of the former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, of Buzyn and another former member of the government, Sibeth Ndiaye, but also the director general of health, Jérôme Salomon, and the director general of Public Health France, Geneviève Chêne.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Management of Covid-19: searches to verify that everything has been done to fight the epidemic

The investigative committee of the CJR has opened its investigation into the offense of“Abstention from fighting a disaster”.

This major development could be followed by other invitations targeting current or past members of the executive, including Olivier Véran or Edouard Philippe, and have important political consequences for the majority while Emmanuel Macron could seek his re-election to the spring 2022.

Asked Thursday about the convocation of Agnes Buzyn, Jean Castex replied that“A head of government cannot comment on an ongoing judicial process”. “We must at all costs avoid (…) that paralysis threatens the action of the public authorities at the moment when, on the contrary, decisions are needed to face crises ”, however added the Prime Minister, considering that Buzyn had “Made the decisions that circumstances required him to take”.

Verification : Coronavirus and hydroxychloroquine: the Buzyn-Lévy couple targeted by false publications

The World with AFP

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