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France: former Minister of Health is formally accused of the health crisis at the beginning of the pandemic

The Covid crisis in France and the ministers responsible for leading it are being analyzed by the courts. Agnes Buzyn, doctor and former health minister of Emmanuel Macron, was summoned this Friday by the court of justice of the republic to be questioned. In the afternoon was accused “of endangering the lives of others” by the court.

The revelation of the audience was made by the newspaper Le Monde. Nobody knew.

But the magistrates analyzed the crisis and the consequences of a decision-making system, which was excess custom during the pandemic.

There was two counts in the absence of anticipation of his administration: · “the voluntary abstention from fighting a claim” and the “endangering of the lives of others.” Because it is the minister who must implement the rules relating to the protection of health against the risks that may affect it. ” The court of justice chose the charge of “endangering the lives of others” to accuse her.

Agnes Buzyn left her ministerial duties in February 2020 to prepare the campaign for municipal elections, when she already knew the situation of the country in the face of the pandemic. But Buzyn said then on March 24, 2020: “The risks of spreading the coronavirus in the population are very weak.”

“It’s a masquerade”

But in an interview in Le Monde weeks later he was sincere “We should have stopped everything. This is a masquerade. On January 11, I sent a message to the president about the situation, “he was sincere.

“From the beginning I had only thought about one thing: the coronavirus. We should have stopped everything. It was a sham. The past week has been a nightmare. I was scared in every meeting, ”he said then, quoted by our colleagues.

These are the contradictions that the judges will investigate.

The accusations

Buzyn, heard by three judges, is accused of not having acted enough at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, between January and March 2020. It defends itself and intends to take advantage of this hearing to “explain and reestablish the veracity of the facts.”

It all started with a complaint from a group of health professionals, represented by the lawyer Fabrice di Vizio, known since the beginning of the pandemic for his denunciation of government policy. Or better various complaints: the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR) has received about 15,000 since the start of the pandemic.

Only nine of them have been considered admissible by the CJR complaints commission. This is the only court that can investigate ministers for acts committed in the performance of their duties.

These nine complaints were grouped into a single procedure. In July 2020 an investigation was opened for “refraining from fighting a complaint” directed at Agnès Buzyn, but also at her successor Olivier Véran and former Prime Minister Édouard Philippe. Buzyn is now entrusted to the director general for multilateral issues at the World Health Organization, which prevented her from going to the first appointment.

The former Minister of Health is criticized “for not having acted sufficiently at the beginning of the pandemic”, at the end of December 2019 and in January 2020. At that time, “only” several hundred positive cases were registered in China and then, in certain countries, Asian neighbors.

And on January 24, the former minister and doctor assured that “the risks of spreading the coronavirus in the population they were very short“, before qualifying his statements. One of the main complaints against him is that did not stock enough masks and protective equipment for caregivers. Said masks weren’t necessary for the general public.

Endanger lives

According to Le Monde, the former Minister of Health risks an accusation not only for “voluntary abstention from fighting a disaster” (punishable by 2 years in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros) but also, from now on, for “Endanger the lives of others.”

“I will not let the government’s action, my action as minister, in the meantime we have done to prepare our country for a global health crisis that, I remind you, still lingers,” said Agnès Buzyn in her defense.

In June 2020, during his hearing before the Commission of Inquiry of the National Assembly on his management of the health crisis, he felt that he “felt the danger much earlier than others.”

The former Minister of Health also welcomed the “anticipation” of the epidemic in France, “without comparison with other European countries.” Agnès Buzyn too had refused to take responsibility from the scarcity of masks.

If the precise arguments made by the former minister on Friday were not leaked, it is very likely that she has maintained the same line of defense as during the parliamentary hearing.

His successor, Minister Olivier Moran will be heard in the coming weeks, as will former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. They were in charge in the middle of the pandemic and their actions will be observed with a magnifying glass by the magistrates.

Paris, correspondent

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