At the end of a first appearance interrogation on Tuesday, the three judges of the CJR’s investigating committee placed the mayor of Le Havre under the intermediate status of assisted witness for endangering the lives of others and abstention. volunteer to fight a disaster, said a source familiar with the matter on Saturday, confirming information from Franceinfo.
Contacted by AFP, his lawyer, Me Emmanuel Marsigny, declined to comment.
The magistrates initially planned to indict him, but ultimately felt that they had not at this stage gathered the serious or concordant evidence necessary to initiate proceedings.
If he is not subsequently indicted, Édouard Philippe cannot be referred to the court of the CJR, the only court authorized to prosecute and judge members of the government for crimes or misdemeanors committed in the exercise of their functions.
His summons to the CJR had been announced for October 24, but the interrogation was brought forward by a week.
The former Prime Minister (2017-2020), now president of the political party close to the presidential majority Horizons and given among the contenders for the 2027 presidential election, is criticized by some for not having ordered protective measures in favor of healthcare personnel and exposed workers, nor of having anticipated the epidemic despite the alerts.
According to Le Monde, he also had to explain himself on the maintenance of the first round of the municipal elections on March 15 while the contaminations intensified, and on the late activation of the interministerial crisis unit (CIC) on March 17.
“I vigorously dispute the incriminations which are reproached to me”, had assured on October 9 with the Parisian Mr. Philippe.
– Masks –
The magistrates of the CJR, who have been investigating the government’s management of the crisis since July 7, 2020, indicted in September 2021 Agnès Buzyn, Minister of Health between May 2017 and February 2020 and now at the World Health Organization. Health (WHO), for endangering the lives of others.
On the other hand, they placed her under the status of assisted witness for voluntary abstention from fighting a disaster.
“From the start I only thought of one thing: the coronavirus. We should have stopped everything, it was a masquerade”, she had declared to Le Monde on March 17, 2020 about the electoral process, while France was confined.
The former Minister of Health Olivier Véran, now government spokesperson, is also targeted by this instruction but has not yet been heard.
“On the masks, we were wrong, neither more nor less”, he admitted in September at the release of a book, presenting his “apologies”.
In March 2020, as the Covid-19 epidemic swept through France, the health authorities deemed it “unnecessary” to extend the wearing of masks to the entire population. At the same time, France lacked masks.
The Head of State, Emmanuel Macron, is criminally irresponsible for acts carried out in the exercise of his functions.
In this case, several searches were carried out in October 2020, in particular at the homes and offices of MM. Véran and Philippe, of Mrs. Buzyn and the former member of the government Sibeth Ndiaye.
At the same time, investigating judges from the Paris public health center have been investigating since November 2020 the responsibilities of the state administration, also questioned by several hundred complainants.
To date, according to figures from Public Health France, the Covid-19 epidemic has caused 156,000 deaths in France.
In the past, two Prime Ministers have been indicted by the CJR, then released: Laurent Fabius for the case of contaminated blood and Édouard Balladur in the case of the hidden financing of his presidential campaign of 1995.