Ex-French health minister charged over COVID handling

Agnes Buzyn charged with ‘endangering the lives of others’, in one of the first such cases worldwide.

Former health minister Agnes Buzyn, who resigned in mid-February 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, arrives at the Court of Justice of the Republic in Paris [Lucas Barioulet/AFP]

France’s former health minister Agnes Buzyn has been charged over her handling of the COVID-19 crisis after investigators at a special court in Paris concluded there were grounds to prosecute her.

Buzyn has been charged with “endangering the lives of others”, the prosecutor of the Republic’s Court of Justice said on Friday, but not for a second possible offence of “failure to stop a disaster”.

The former doctor, who will be able to appeal the charge, arrived for a hearing at the court saying she welcomed “an excellent opportunity for me to explain myself and to establish the truth”.

The 58-year-old added that she would not “let the action of the government be discredited, or my action as a minister, when we did so much to prepare our country for a global health crisis that is still ongoing”.

The development marks one of the first cases worldwide where a leading public sector official has been held legally accountable for the handling of the healthcare crisis.

The charges are a blow for President Emmanuel Macron, whose handling of the health crisis will face scrutiny during election campaigning next year, but the court also immediately faced allegations of judicial overreach.

Anne Genetet, an MP from the ruling LREM party, said she was “shocked” and “angry” by the precedent set by the court, which has special powers to prosecute ministers.

“We shouldn’t be surprised if no one wants to enter politics anymore, or be a minister,” Genetet told the LCI channel.

Former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and the current health minister, Olivier Veran, are also being investigated by magistrates at the court and have seen their offices searched.



Buzyn, who resigned from her post in February last year, weeks after the first COVID-19 cases were confirmed in France, has faced criticism and ridicule over her initial statements about the crisis.

She said initially in January 2020 that there was “practically no risk” of importing COVID-19 from the Chinese city at the origin of the outbreak, Wuhan, and then said the “risk of a spread of the coronavirus among the population is very small”.

A month later, as she left the ministry to launch a failed bid to become Paris mayor, she claimed that “the tsunami has yet to come”, in an apparent contradiction of her earlier statements.

The cancer and transplant specialist later told a parliamentary investigation that she had alerted the president and then-prime minister Philippe to the potential “dangers” of COVID-19 as early as January.

This is part of a broader investigation into the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and Buzyn’s successor, Veran, is widely expected to be summoned by the same judges in the coming weeks.



The Republic’s Court of Justice was created in 1993 as a way of improving accountability due to perceptions that cabinet members were able to escape legal censure for their actions in office.

Members of the public are allowed to file complaints to the court if they consider they are the victim of a crime carried out by a member of the government.

Some 14,500 complaints – from individuals, doctors, associations and even prisoners – have piled up over the government’s handling of the pandemic, its top prosecutor said this week.

Some critics accuse the court of being too slow and lenient, while others see the current investigation as being an example of the justice system going too far.

Jean Garrigues, a French political historian who is often supportive of the government, called Buzyn’s appearance at the court “a serious blow to the separation of powers”.

“It’s up to voters and not judges to sanction a politician for their words and deeds,” he wrote on Twitter.

The court has become increasingly contested, with both former President Francois Hollande and incumbent Macron pledging to scrap it.

Buzyn quit politics and in January joined the cabinet of the World Health Organization’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.


5 Responses to “Ex-French health minister charged over COVID handling”

  1. ian says:

    We are definitely in deep water with all the Cv shit. I really suspect though, that if the SHTF for the big guys, war with China will be plan B. They’re not going to be rounded up and hung or jailed, and anyone who thinks that they will, doesn’t understand the situation which we are in. They can turn the power and water off and keep us quarantined using soldiers and drones til we die.they can block the roads and quarantine us til we starve. Snipers on the rooftops picking off anyone who goes out. You might think that they wouldn’t do that to us. Research Eisenhower’s Rhine meadow death camps, the Holodomor, the Bolshevik revolution. Pol Pot, etc etc. They are currently going for winner winner chicken dinner, where we kill ourselves by being poisoned by vaxx, while the make a fortune from it. However it is possibly viewed by them as their easiest and best option. The masses are on board with their own poisoning, money is being made aplenty, BUT, if it goes tits up, they’ll get us another way, or smile and wait while reassuring us. That’s who we are dealing with folks.

  2. Weaver says:

    Met with a lawyer whilst out tonight who was administering the Covid vaccine. The very mention that the FDA has come out and stated that for every 5 people who die from the vaccine to every 1 person saved from Covid was worth doing is very troubling. We were told that we were conspiracy theorists and even though we stated that we got our figures off the Yellow Card reporting system and VAERS we were still told that we were spreading disinformation and conspiracy theriors. This from a lawyer. So very worrying that people are so brainwashed into believing that the vaccine is the way to normality. It did not make a difference that we said that we were not vaccinated and know people who had died of the vaccine.

    • ian says:

      I don’t mix within circles which include lawyers Weaver, but I have found that it appears that education means indoctrination. Add to that, their innate feelings of superiority over “humble peasants”, such as myself, and you find that their beliefs are cast in stone. I barely try now to awaken anyone, as I bear the psychological bruises from past encounters, and just instead try to avoid thinking smug thoughts myself, as on a different plane it makes me like them.

      On a different note, I saw a teeshirt with a logo which read, ” As a kid, I always wanted to be older. I didn’t think it would turn out like this”. Sort of sums up life.

    • Tapestry says:

      Theory? How can admitted facts be theories? I wish they were theories!