Benoit Tessier via Reuters
POLITICS – The majority should be used to it though. But this judicial twist, far from being unprecedented in Macronia, is not like the others. Agnès Buzyn, the former Minister of Health (2017-2020) was indicted, Friday, September 10, for endangering the lives of others, after more than nine hours of hearing at the Court of Justice of the Republic.
She is the first major political leader to be called into question in the investigation into the management of the Covid-19 epidemic by the French authorities. While waiting for his successor Olivier Véran and former Prime Minister Édouard Philippe?
The decision of the CJR in any case arouses excitement among the marchers, for whom this judicial calendar is likely to scramble the race for the presidential election. Several elected officials, often prominent, endeavor to recall the professionalism of Agnès Buzyn, who left the ministry in February 2020, at the start of the crisis to run, in vain, for mayor of Paris. All while criticizing a “worrying precedent” for women and men with responsibilities.
“Buzyn did all she could and without a doubt more”
“Eighteen months ago, we discovered with disbelief a virus that had come a long way and that we knew nothing about. Agnès Buzyn did all she could and undoubtedly more to protect us in the face of the beginning of the pandemic ”, writes for example Roland Lescure this Saturday morning on social networks before expressing his“ support ”and his“ friendship ” with regard to the former minister.
Beyond the president of the Economic Affairs Committee in the Assembly, the staff of the presidential formation intends to face these legal threats. “The government did the best it could to manage the health crisis, by taking the best possible decisions on the basis of the information it had at each stage”, insists Stanislas Guérini, the boss of La République en Marche in World.
Contrary to the deputies, the executive, precisely, plays rather the radio silence, separation of the powers obliges. Finally, he tries. Asked Thursday about the summons of Agnès Buzyn, Jean Castex, who was not the head of government when the main interested party was in charge first considered that he could “not comment on an ongoing legal process”.
Before going to his comment, despite everything, since, according to him, the former minister “made the decisions that circumstances required him to take.”
A paralysis of public action?
Above all, for Jean Castex, it is necessary “to avoid at all costs (…) that paralysis threatens the action of the public authorities when, on the contrary, we need decisions to face crises”. In other words, the tenant of Matignon believes that these criminal threats – and the fear of legal proceedings – are likely to contribute to bad behavior in the country.
This is the risk agitated by several elected officials on social networks or in the media. For Aurore Bergé, the deputy president of LREM, for example, the indictment of Agnès Buzyn will create “a dangerous precedent”.
“If tomorrow a minister can be indicted for what he has not done, not done enough, or done badly, then who qualifies the ‘bad’ done? When? On what criteria of appreciation? ”, She wrote on Friday on her Twitter account, before adding, in another message:“ if the French consider that a government has acted insufficiently, has not obtained the expected results, did not take the desired orientations: this is sanctioned within the framework of the elections. It cannot be resolved in court. ”
The embarrassed opposition to the armor
Same credo on the side of Sacha Houlié, for whom “the first judges are first and foremost the voters.” “The risk”, for the deputy of Vienne, who spoke on Saturday, on franceinfo, “is to paralyze political action, to put a trial on acts which are a priori legal but which could be condemned by public opinion and it is above all to make a people’s court. ” And the majority are not the only ones to worry about it.
Part of the opposition is indeed showing its skepticism about the indictment of the former minister. Jean Leonetti, the ephemeral president of the Republicans in 2019, thus expressed his personal support for Agnès Buzyn. “I wonder about the usefulness of these jurisdictions of exceptions and the practice of the ‘scapegoat’ which avoids the real search for responsibility”, reacted the former minister.
“I do not share this desire to bring everything to justice, that’s not how we do politics,” also regrets Damien Abad, the boss of the deputies Les Républicains on BFMTV, backwards
“The truth is that when you are a political leader, there is necessarily action and risks”, further explained the deputy of Ain, on the same line as the boss of the Communists,
, which “does not think that it is in the courts that we will solve the problems” of the French.
Mise en examen d'Agnès Buzyn : "Je ne pense pas que ce soit dans les tribunaux qu'on va régler les problèmes", commente Fabien Roussel, secrétaire national du Parti communiste français, député du Nord et candidat à l'élection présidentielle pic.twitter.com/9cap61Inrn— franceinfo (@franceinfo) September 11, 2021
It remains to be seen whether this major development will be followed by other summons or indictments. A year ago, in mid-October 2020, several searches were carried out at the homes and offices of Agnes Buzyn, but also of Olivier Véran, Édouard Philippe and Sibeth Ndiaye.
See also on The HuffPost: Covid-19 Commission of Inquiry: Agnes Buzyn spent a lot of time looking for her notes