Edouard Philippe was placed under witness status assisted by the Court of Justice of the Republic
The former Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, was placed on Tuesday, October 18, under witness status assisted by the magistrates of the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR) at the end of the hearing on the government’s management of his Covid-19 epidemic, announced on Saturday October 22, a source familiar with the matter at Agence France-Presse (AFP), confirming information from Franceinfo.
The mayor of Le Havre and president of Horizons, a party close to the presidential majority, was heard on Tuesday by three magistrates of the CJR investigation commission on the offenses of “endangering the lives of others” and “voluntary avoidance of resistance in a disaster.”.
The former Prime Minister (May 2017-July 2020), disputing the offenses with which he was charged, has clearly convinced the judges since he was placed under the status of assisted witness, between the accused and the witness only. It determines the status of the person implicated during the judicial investigation, but not directly accused of committing an offense.
If he is not subsequently charged, Edouard Philippe cannot be referred to the trial court of the CJR, the only court authorized to prosecute and try members of the government for crimes or misdemeanors committed in the execution of their duties. His summons to the CJR was announced on October 24, but his interrogation was brought forward by a week.
Edouard Philippe is implicated in particular for the management of protective masks – surgical (intended for the general population) or FFP2 (reserved for health professionals) –, particularly regarding the non-renewal of stocks. So, in May 2020, a survey of world Emphasized the negligence of the public authorities, guilty of allowing stocks of masks to melt to dizzying proportions (there are only about one hundred million left, at the beginning of 2020, against 2.2 billion ten years ago the past), until destruction is allowed. , in March 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 crisis, millions of masks were still available…
The former Prime Minister was also criticized for the perceived slowness of the executive, at the beginning of 2020, in the Covid-19 crisis. Alerted at the beginning of January to the severity and contagion of SARS-CoV-2, this virus from China, the government was slow to react, according to several parliamentary inquiries, but also according to many testimonies collected by CJR, thus exposing the population to serious risks.
Edouard Philippe also had to explain himself in keeping the first round of municipal elections on March 15, when the number of contaminations increased significantly, and in the late activation of the interisterial crisis unit (CIC) on March 17.
Agnès Buzyn was accused in September 2021
In this judicial investigation opened in July 2020, the former Minister of Health (May 2017-February 2020), Agnès Buzyn, was charged with “endangering the lives of others” on September 10, 2021. She was also placed in the status of assisted witness for “voluntary avoidance of contesting a claim”.
Besides MI Buzyn and Mr. Philippe, the former Minister of Health Olivier Véran, now government spokesman, are targeted by this directive on the government’s management of the Covid-19 epidemic led by the CJR. Mr. Véran had not heard of the latter.
The Head of State, Emmanuel Macron, is, for his part, not criminally responsible for acts carried out in the execution of his duties. The investigations were launched after several complaints denouncing the specific lack of protective equipment for caregivers and the population or the errors in the need or not wearing masks. Since then, other complaints have been added to the ongoing judicial investigation.
In this case, several searches were conducted in October 2020, specifically at MM’s homes and offices. Véran and Philippe, from M.I Buzyn and former government member Sibeth Ndiaye. So far, according to figures from Public Health France, the Covid-19 epidemic has caused the death of 155,000 people in France.