Pandemic: French ex-minister indicted
In France, former health minister Agnès Buzyn, who resigned in mid-February 2020, is on trial for endangering human lives through her policies at the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against Buzyn and other members of the government. The French press, however, sees no point to the proceedings.
We need reforms, not trials
Putting politicians on trail over this issue simply misses the point, Jean-Éric Schoettl, former Secretary General of the French Constitutional Council writes in Le Figaro:
“The mistakes made in forecasting and crisis management before and during the pandemic are unspecific, collective and unintentional. What is at issue here is the structure and functioning of the state apparatus, not the will of individuals. The dysfunctions are unacceptable, but they are the result of multiple, long-standing, interrelated deficiencies. They stem from an interplay of causes that no one really controls or even knows about. These failures require reforms, not trials.”
Proceedings discourage leaders
Lawyers Olivier Beaud and Cécile Guérin-Bargues warn in Le Monde that the proceedings are doing more harm than good:
“This restless search for criminal responsibility on the part of politicians, combined with prosecution populism, carries the risk of political decisions being influenced by the politicians' need to protect themselves from legal threats. Paradoxically, this fosters the very inaction that is often the cause for such lawsuits. Who will want to implement a vaccination campaign in the future if ministers bear the blame for potential side effects? And above all: who can fail to realise that these investigations against ministers by, in this case, rather unenlightened judges weaken trust in our institutions - and thus in the Republic?”