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News > Algeria

France Declassifies Algeria War Documents

  • Image of a concentration camp during the Algerian war.

    Image of a concentration camp during the Algerian war. | Photo: Twitter/ @LegalKant

Published 9 March 2021

Last week President Macron acknowledged that the Algerian lawyer Ali Boumendjel had been tortured and killed in 1957.

France's President Emmanuel Macron ordered the declassification of Defense Ministry documents up to 1971, which include the tumultuous periods of French decolonization in Africa such as the Algerian War (1954-1962).


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"The president has listened to the university community that requested to facilitate access to archives that are over 50 years old," said a statement issued from the Elysee Palace.

To ensure that the declassification is completed before the summer, Macron authorized the declassification to take place on a dossier-by-dossier basis and not on a sheet-by-sheet basis. This decision is aimed at shortening waiting times, especially with regard to documents relating to the Algerian war.

Speaking on behalf of the French State, Macron acknowledged last week that the Algerian lawyer and militant Ali Boumendjel had been tortured and killed in 1957. Previously, the official version held that he had committed suicide.

The decision to declassify secret documents comes after historian Benjamin Stora presented a report on the colonization and war in that African country.

Macron's reconciliatory attitude, however, is not without controversy in his country as many of his compatriots still consider that exposing what happened is disrespectful to the French soldiers who participated in the war.

"Looking history in the face and recognizing the truth of the facts will not allow us to close wounds that are still open. But it will help open the way for the future," the French president said.

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