French parliament, not judiciary, should handle any COVID-19 inquiry, says minister

PARIS (Reuters) – Any inquiry into the French response to the coronavirus pandemic should be handled by parliament rather than a judicial panel, the justice minister said on Wednesday, amid growing scrutiny of the government’s COVID-19 measures.

“The government is accountable to parliament. If parliament thinks (the outbreak) has been handled badly, then it must challenge the government’s response,” Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet told RTL radio.

Belloubet was speaking after Paris prosecutors opened a preliminary inquiry into government actions to determine whether any criminal offences may have been committed.

The prosecutors’ office said there had been 62 complaints by public bodies, including government ministries, local authorities and nursing homes.

“If our citizens think the government handled the crisis, badly, there are elections,” Belloubet said. “They can sanction the government.”

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