France called to fully recognise use of torture during Algerian war

Algeria © AFP/Archives
© AFP/Archives

Several NGOs and rights groups have asked France to recognise its use of torture during the Algerian war of independence, moving beyond an “incomplete” recognition in 2022.

"Undertaking the path towards understanding the repressive chain of events that ended with recourse to torture, including rape, is a constructive tool," wrote about twenty organisations in a dossier sent to the Eylsée palace on Monday.

"Recognising the use of torture is "not an act of contrition, but an act of faith in the values of the nation."

The groups, which include the Human Rights League (LDH) and representatives of former soldiers in the 1954-1962 Algerian war, say that torture was part of France's approach to war, “theorised, taught, practiced, covered and exported by French governments."

Incomplete recognition

In 2022, during a commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Evian agreement, which ended the war, the French presidency had made a step towards the recognition that the groups are seeking.

"We recognise with clarity that in this war there were some who, ordered by the government to win at any cost, placed themselves outside the Republic. This minority of fighters spread terror, committed torture, against and hostile to all the values of the Republic," the presidency wrote in a statement published 18 October 2022.

The statement was courageous, but incomplete, according Nils Andersson, president of the Act against colonialism today organisation, which signed the documents sent Monday.

The admission does not recognise the chain of command that lead to the use of torture. Doing so is not about "condemning nor judging, but to look history in the face, with the aim of appeasement," he said at a news conference presenting the document on Monday.

"It will allow us to move on to the next step" understanding how this was possible and moving forward towards peaceful coexistence."

(with AFP)

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