France: searches of the Minister of Health in the investigation into the management of the health crisis

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Paris | Searches took place Thursday at the homes and offices of French Minister of Health Olivier Véran, as part of a judicial investigation on the management of the coronavirus crisis in France, the ministry announced in a press release.

Other searches were carried out at the Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon and another responsible for Health. These operations took place “without difficulty”, the same source said.

The investigations are carried out following a complaint before the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR), the only body empowered to judge acts committed by members of the government in the exercise of their functions.

A judicial investigation was opened on July 7 for “abstaining from fighting a claim” and entrusted to the investigating committee of the CJR, which acts as an investigating judge and leads the investigations.

In total, since the start of the coronavirus crisis, 90 complaints against ministers had been addressed to the CJR. Only 9 of them were deemed admissible, targeting, in addition to Mr. Véran, former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, former Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn or even former government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye.

The hearings of the plaintiffs, including representatives of a group of doctors, began in early September. They criticize in particular “the inconsistency of measures” taken at the top of the State or “the lack of application of the recommendations of the WHO”.

For its part, the Paris public prosecutor’s office, which has received dozens of complaints sometimes targeting administration officials, on June 9 opened a vast preliminary investigation, in particular for “involuntary homicides” or “endangering the life of ‘others’.

The Victims Coronavirus France collective, which brings together 200 people, targeted Prime Minister Jean Castex in mid-September with a complaint before the CJR, believing that the government continued to “navigate on sight” in the face of the epidemic which has made 33,000 dead in France.

The executive was notably accused of not having anticipated the crisis, in particular concerning the need for masks and equipment during the first wave in the spring.

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