French court dismisses case against former health minister over Covid charges

Lucas BARIOULET / AFP

France's top court on Friday threw out a case against former health minister Agnes Buzyn over her allegedly "endangering the lives of others" by initially downplaying the gravity of Covid-19.

The former doctor, who served in cabinet from May 2017 until her resignation for a failed bid to become Paris mayor in February 2020, has always denied the charges.

She is the only ex-official to have been indicted over government mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis, which the World Health Organization declared a pandemic after she stepped down.

The prosecutor of the Republic's Court of Justice, which investigates alleged wrongdoing by ministers, charged her with "endangering the lives of others" in 2021.

But the country's Court of Cassation on Friday dismissed the charges, saying there was no legal provision to hold her directly responsible.

"The former minister cannot be referred to the Republic's Court of Justice to be tried," it ruled.

Buzyn was not immediately available for comment, and her lawyer did not wish to comment.

In March 2020, President Emmanuel Macron announced that France was "at war" with Covid-19 and placed the country under the first of three lockdowns to halt its spread.