the indictment of Agnès Buzyn canceled by the Court of Cassation

the indictment of Agnès Buzyn canceled by the Court of Cassation

It is, for sure, a huge relief for Agnès Buzyn. In a decision handed down on Friday January 20, the Plenary Assembly of the Court of Cassation – its most solemn formation – cancels its indictment by the investigating commission of the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR), for “endangering others” following the Covid-19 health crisis. The highest court also annuls “hearings of members of the government conducted by one or two members of the investigating committee and not by its three members”.

The main question of law raised by Buzyn was to know whether a law or a regulation imposed on the former Minister of Health, in the exercise of her functions, a particular obligation of prudence or security. The Court of Cassation answered in the negative and found that “the offense of endangering others can only be charged against a person if a law or regulation imposes a particular obligation of prudence or safety on him. This obligation must be objective, immediately perceptible and clearly applicable”. And to specify: “However, none of the texts to which the investigating committee referred to indict the former Minister of Health provides for any particular obligation of prudence or security. »

This cancellation of the indictment has the effect of automatically attributing to Agnès Buzyn the status of “assisted witness”. It therefore remains implicated for “voluntary abstention from fighting a claim” but he is no longer directly accused of an offence. The Court states: “As it stands, the former minister cannot be referred to the CJR for trial. » However, prosecution is always possible, but not for “endangering others”.

“Very low” risk of spread

Agnès Buzyn had been indicted in September 2021 by the CJR, the only body empowered to try ministers for facts accomplished during their mandate. She was, until the judgment of the Court of Cassation, the only political leader indicted by the CJR. Thus, the former Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, had been discreetly heard on October 18, 2022 by this same court, and placed under the more favorable status of assisted witness, escaping the indictment. Olivier Véran, also a former minister of health and now government spokesman, is also targeted by this instruction but has not yet been heard by the magistrates.

At the beginning of 2020, as the first signs of the Covid crisis arrived from China, Mme Buzyn had occupied a central role, at the head of the Ministry of Health since May 2017. At the end of January 2020, the hematologist by training had thus spoken at the Elysée to ensure that “the risks of spreading the coronavirus in the population [étaient] very weak, specifying all the same that this finding could ” to evolve “. A few days later, in mid-February, she was replaced by Mr. Véran, following his decision to leave the government to run for Paris City Hall, taking over from Benjamin Griveaux, forced to retire after the broadcast of an intimate video.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Municipal 2020: in Paris, Agnès Buzyn plays the anti-Griveaux

In this strange electoral campaign, where the confinement was interposed between the first and the second round, leaving a gap of three months, she had never managed to impose herself and had seemed totally foreign to the political issue of the ballot. , as if she weren’t interested. She had finished in third place.

After this defeat, she retired from political life. She first became a doctor again at the Percy military hospital, in Hauts-de-Seine, as a reinforcement in the Covid-19 unit. Then, in early 2021, Agnès Buzyn was appointed to the World Health Organization. Finally, since September 2022, she has been a senior advisor to the Court of Auditors, a control function, for a non-renewable term of five years.

Regrets about government management

Very soon, Buzyn will express regret over the government’s management of the Covid crisis. From March 2020, she confides in the Monde : “I think I saw the first thing that was happening in China: December 20 [2019], an English blog detailed strange pneumopathies. I alerted the director general of health. On January 11, I sent a message to the President [de la République] on the situation. On January 30, I warned Edouard Philippe that the elections could probably not be held. I was chomping at the bit. »

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Covid-19: the truths of Agnès Buzyn on the management of the pandemic

On the health crisis, she kept a diary, a 600-page document of which The world published excerpts in September 2022. She then returns in our columns to her hearing before the CJR’s investigating committee: “We are the only country in the world to indict ministers for the management of a global pandemic. I brought all the evidence that we anticipated and managed as well as possible, in vain. (…) To imagine that they could think for a single second that I didn’t put all my energy into trying to avoid the worst is unbearable. » The CJR launched investigations after several complaints denouncing in particular the lack of protective equipment for caregivers and the population, or even the errors on the need or not to wear masks. Requested by The world Friday, Buzyn did not react to the decision of the Court of Cassation.


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