Algerian War: a report to denounce the chains of responsibility in the use of torture

France must recognize its responsibility for torture during the Algerian War (1954-1962), around twenty associations demanded on Monday March 4.

At the end of 2022, the Élysée recognized that “

there are some who, mandated by the government, have placed themselves outside the Republic.

This minority of fighters spread terror and perpetrated torture


An “ important, courageous

” but “


” act

, plead these associations, who want the chains of responsibility which made it possible to institutionalize torture to be explored.

On March 29, 1956, police officers armed with machine guns blocked a street in the Casbah of Algiers to carry out identity checks during a vast operation launched by the police during the Algerian war to curb the insecurity in the city.


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Facts, reports and testimonies of officials, conscripts or citizens in support, associations - including associations of veterans such as the Former Conscripts in Algeria and their friends against the war or the League for Human Rights - believe that “

torture as a system of war has been theorized, taught, practiced, covered up and exported by French governments, which fully engages the responsibility of the State


Our citizen request is to understand the dysfunctions in the chain of decisions and command within the political, military, administrative and judicial institutions of the State which allowed this transition from the use of torture from theory to practice

», Explains

Nils Andersson

, president of Acting Against Colonialism Today (ACCA), to

Laura Martel

of RFI  .

 The associations point to the fact that torture was “

taught from 1955

” in the main military schools like Saint-Cyr and that those who opposed it during the Algerian war were “ 



As early as 1958, the communist Henri Alleg testified to the torture he suffered at the hands of the French army, in a shocking book immediately banned,

La Question


More than four decades later, General

Paul Aussaresses

admitted to having practiced torture.

It is "

neither to judge nor to condemn, but to look history in the face

", underline the applicants, for whom this recognition by France "

would not be an act of contrition, but of confidence in the values ​​of the nation


Also listen to Memories of the Algerian War: silences and unsaid words in families

A look at the past necessary for the present, adds

Gilles Manceron

, historian specializing in colonial history and vice-president of the

Josette and Maurice Audin Association


It is not only a matter for historians, it is also an issue for the present because if things have been possible, perfectly contrary to human rights, similar things can - possibly - happen if we do not not do this job.

Is the human rights discourse to which France refers an empty allusion or a full and complete reference?

To be credible, France must do work in this area.


Also read Death of Maurice Audin: how Macron arrived at France's mea culpa

NGOs and associations, which deplore not having been received by the Elysée, have published dozens of testimonies of people tortured during the war which led to the independence of Algeria.

They sent a well-argued dossier to the Elysée, while deploring not having been received. 

Since 2022, Paris and Algiers have increased efforts to rebuild a more peaceful relationship, by gradually demining the subjects of colonization and the Algerian war.


commission of French and Algerian historians

was notably created by the heads of the two States the same year to “better understand each other and reconcile wounded memories”, the Élysée then underlined.

(and with AFP)


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