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french algerian war atrocities

France’s colonial rule in Algeria, as well as the war that brought it to an end, remains an open wound in French historical memory despite ending more than 50 years ago. : Libri in altre lingue This paper will show that the French government’s weak commitment to maintaining the rule of law and her tradition of civil liberties cost her public support when the war began to impose on Metropolitan France. In that case, regardless of the correctness of this allegation or the mission of these advisors, their role was minute relative to that of the British forces trying to ensure a peaceful transfer of power during Aden Emergency. [7] It was described by "Verité Liberté": The interrogatories is done in accordance with the provisional guide of the intelligence agent (Guide provisoire de l'officier de renseignement, OR), chapter IV: first, the officer questions the prisoner in the "traditional" manner, hitting him with fist and kicking him. The Algerian civil war in the 1990s appears as a separate case in this study. The FLN continued to target the French military, but as the conflict wore on, it also increasingly launched retributive attacks against civilians. Horne, A. As the example of French extremists and harki demonstrate, not all violence occurred across the schism of French and Algerian. (bismillah) France and Algeria unconcerned by revelations of French atrocitiesFor more than a year irrefutible new evidence of war crimes committed by French forces during the Algerian war of independence has been surfacing in French newspapers and in memoirs by senior French … "liberal" in French usually refers to economic liberalism]) personally told me that he never received such strict instructions against torture as that which he had had from Mitterrand. The Interview: An Ethnographic Approach. He had under his charge only civil justice, and Reliquet (the public prosecutor in Algiers and who was a liberal [i.e. However the argument is questionable as Robin argued that the mission consisted of veterans of the Algerian War, which would have been extremely unlikely at the onset of the purported mission (since the war in Algeria was ongoing) and remains an undocumented claim even after 1962. Stephen J. Fallon. "Justice et torture à Alger en 1957 : apports et limites d'un document" (en collaboration avec Sylvie Thénault) in Dominique Borne, Jean-Louis Nembrini et Jean-Pierre Rioux (dir. The repression of these riots officially caused 1,500 deaths, but N. Bancel, P. Blanchard, and S. Lemaire estimate it to be rather between 6,000 and 8,000 deaths[14][15], Three years before the 1954 Toussaint Rouge insurrection, Claude Bourdet, a former Resistant wrote an article published on 6 December 1951 in L'Observateur, which was titled "Is there a Gestapo in Algeria?" He had to resign a few months later, and the ICRC was prohibited for a year from undertaking any mission to Algeria. These men personally directed the atrocities now being revealed, and revel in their grisly stories, confirming in the process the role of French politicians in them. À partir du moment où on mène une guerre coloniale, c’est-à-dire une guerre pour soumettre un peuple à sa volonté, on peut édicter toutes les lois que l'on veut, il y aura toujours des dépassements." It was only in 1995–96 that new works began to reveal information. One additional factor was fighting within the FLN. [35], Further escalation occurred from August to October 1961 as the FLN resumed bombings against the French police, and killing 11 policemen and injured 17 (in Paris and its suburbs). 2012. Pierre Vidal-Naquet, a French historian, confessed that there were "hundreds of thousands of instances of torture" by the French military in Algeria. [citation needed] In testimony in January 2007 before Argentine judges, Luis María Mendía, Argentine Admiral and originator of the "death flights" during the "Dirty War", referred to Marie Monique Robin's film documentary titled The Death Squads – the French School (Les escadrons de la mort – l'école française), which argued that the French intelligence services had trained Argentine counterparts in counter-insurgency techniques. [i] Describing groups involved in the Algerian Revolution can be tricky. The Court of Cassation declared in its judgment that "freedom to inform, which is the basis of freedom of expression" does not lead to "accompany the exposure of facts ... with commentaries justifying acts contrary to human dignity and universally reproved", "nor to glorify its author." The French atrocities in Algeria began in 1830. The scale of French retaliations instilled fear and anger among the Algerian population and vengeance among the pied noirs. According to historian Raphaëlle Branche, "it was as if Mendès France was preparing for his departure by setting up as many protective barriers as possible." Oxford: Oxford University Press. The archives of the war were closed to the public for thirty years, a period extendable for up to 60 years for those documents that were liable to compromise a person's privacy or state security. Calcada, Miquel. The French army provide a chilling context for reviews of Nazi atrocities. Everyone is familiar with its rules and everyone can apply those rules with almost complete certainty of success. Retrieved from LaDepeche.fr: http://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2012/03/10/1308713-pieds-noirs-ceux-qui-ont-choisi-de-rester.html. Overall deaths from multiple causes and including combatants is likely around 300,000. There had long been suspicions of atrocities during the bloody war that ended 132 years of French rule in Algeria, but the period had been shrouded in secrecy. "The capacity of this center, opened in 1957, is of 500 to 600 persons...Since its constitution, it has "controlled" (incarcerated for fewer than 8 days) 108,175 persons; filed 11,518 Algerians as nationalist activists...; kept for a duration of more than 8 days 7,363 persons; interned to Hamma [an internment camp] 789 suspects."[27]. [64] Her argument was based on several filmed interviews of high-ranking Argentine military officers, who were themselves accused of torture at the time. This pattern continued until independence in 1962. which in 1957 controlled, arrested, and tortured. Bigeard, who qualified FLN activists as "savages", claimed torture was a "necessary evil. An ALN activist, Louisette Ighilahriz, had been tortured by General Massu. The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and Its Arabs. The French military responded with ratissage, the “raking over” of towns and villages through bombing, arrests, and torture. She herself called Bigeard a "liar", and criticized him for continuing to deny the use of torture 40 years later. Julio Godoy. Faber and Faber. It brought down six French governments, led to the collapse of the Fourth Republic, returned de Gaulle to power, and came close to provoking a civil war on French soil. Writer Albert Camus, a Pied-noir and famous existentialist, tried unsuccessfully to persuade both sides to at least leave civilians alone, writing editorials against the use of torture in Combat newspaper. French Counterinsurgency in Algeria: Forgotten Lessons from a Misunderstood Conflict. Nabila Ramdani is a French-Algerian journalist and commentator who specializes in French politics and the Arab world. [51], Bigeard's justification of torture has been criticized by various persons, among whom Joseph Doré, archbishop of Strasbourg, and Marc Lienhard, president of the Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession of Alsace and Lorraine. These victims were known as "Bigeard's shrimps" ("crevettes Bigeard") after the surname of a notorious paratroop helicopter commander. [27], According to the "Vérité Liberté", the end of these torture sessions was either liberation (often the case for women and for those who could pay), internment, or "disappearance." French film breaks silence on war atrocities in Algeria / VIDEO. Returning from an investigation trip to Algeria, Tocqueville wrote that "we make war much more barbaric than the Arabs themselves [...] it is for their part that civilization is situated." It's both true and false to say that Algeria is to France as Vietnam is to the United States. Two important officials, one civilian and another military, resigned because of the use of torture. There were uprisings in the Kabyle region and eastern Algeria in 1871 and in the Aurès mountains in 1916. The controversy over the use of torture continues to have echoes today. Elements of both sides in the Algerian War of Independence—the French Armed Forces and the opposing Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN)—used deliberate torture during that conflict (1954–1962), creating an ongoing public controversy. Minimum estimate of fatalities: 87,788 (90,000). The full-scale insurgency began when the FLN started launching coordinated, small-scale attacks against French military posts, while also killing small numbers of civilians, including European-born pied noirs and loyalist Algerians. "La commission de sauvegarde des droits et libertés individuels pendant la guerre d'Algérie. At the age of twenty she had been captured in September 1957, during the Battle of Algiers, and raped and tortured for three months. [57][58][59][60][61][62][63] The worst atrocities in the French colonies? France first occupied Algeria in 1830 and considered it to be an integral component of the French metropolitan state. All these methods were documented as standard counter-insurgency tactics by Colonel Trinquier in Modern Warfare: A French View of Counterinsurgency (1961), a reference in the areas of "counter-revolutionary war" and of psychological warfare. The IGAME (Inspecteur général en mission extraordinaire) of both Oran and Algiers chose to avoid the issue, whereas the IGAME of Constantinois, Maurice Papon (who died in 2007 after having been convicted for crimes against humanity for his role under Vichy), was actively involved in repression (Branche, 2004). French Failure in Algeria: A Public Relations Disaster. In celebration, Algerian forces, who fought for France, displayed an Algerian flag as a symbol of freedom. The Army attempted to halt these talks, but only succeeded in turning de Gaulle firmly against the pied noirs. [13], Other historians also show that torture was fully a part of the colonialist system: "Torture in Algeria was engraved in the colonial act, it is the "normal" illustration of an abnormal system", wrote Nicolas Bancel, Pascal Blanchard, and Sandrine Lemaire, who have published decisive work on the phenomena of "human zoos. The number of massacres peaked in 1997, with a smaller … Jones, J. French soldiers responded by shooting, several demonstrators were killed. The Battle of Algiers, from January to October 1957, remains to this day a textbook example of counter-insurgency operations. In general, the SFIO supported the colonial wars during the Fourth Republic (1947–54), starting with the crushing of the Madagascar revolt in 1947 by the socialist government of Paul Ramadier. Some 75 percent of mainland citizens voted for independence, while 69.5 percent of the population in Algeria voted for it, and French President de Gaulle opened secret negotiations with the FLN. Aussaresses said that it had been directly ordered by Guy Mollet's government. The French government characterized the FLN as criminals rather than as political activists, and sent ever more troops into Algeria to restore “order.” One of the most appalling aspects of the Algerian War was how traditional working-class organizations abandoned any pretense to internationalism. France officially acknowledged for the first time that it carried out systematic torture during Algeria’s independence war in 2018– a landmark admission about conduct in the conflict which ended 56 years ago and that has been shrouded in secrecy and denials, ‘The Guardian’ had reported. Branche, Raphaëlle. In the same year, he denounced torture as a "habitual repressive method, systematic, official, and massive. While incompletely evidenced, the strongest presumption of torture by the FPA pertains to two locations in the 13th arrondissement. by Commander H. Canuel. ... and the influx continued after the Algerian war. [v], Fighting between political parties (particularly the GPRA and ALN) resulted in the “deaths of over a thousand members of both sides during August and early September 1962 before a ceasefire was agreed on 5 September.”[vi]. French General Paul Aussaresses, whose cold admission of executions and torture during the Algerian independence war five decades ago forced France to … Regarding the French pathway, journalist Marie-Monique Robin argued in her 2004 book on death squads how French intelligence agents had taught their Chilean and Argentine counterparts the use of torture and "disappearances" as a counter-insurgency tactic. "[19], Early in the war, the FLN was progressively assuming control in Algeria through targeted acts of terrorism against French nationals and Algerians supporting the French. The first was Paul Teitgen, former General Secretary of the Algiers Police, who had been himself tortured by the Gestapo. THE FRENCH ARMY AND TORTURE DURING THE ALGERIAN WAR (1954–1962), COLONIALISM THROUGH THE SCHOOL BOOKS – The hidden history of the Algerian war, Torture in Algeria. The FLN engaged in the use of torture against pro-French and uncommitted members of the Algerian population in retaliation fo… [24], In 1958 General Salan set up special military internment centers for PAM rebels. But we do not forget either that torture is a gangrene which largely overhauls the frame of colonial war. "Besides all above, France killed 45,000 Algerians," he added. ", Branche, Raphaëlle. Although many left-wing activists, including famous existentialists writers Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, and historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet, denounced without exception the use of torture, the French government was itself headed in 1957 by the general secretary of the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO), Guy Mollet. "[3] This was therefore a 'classic' colonial war of liberation, and it is on these different viewpoints (police action vs. war) that much of the argument about these events tends to focus. [68], The French and U.S. pathways have a common root, as the use of electrical generators for torture was invented in America in 1908, spread in Asia during World War II, and passed to both French and U.S. forces during their respective involvement in the First Indochina War and the Vietnam War (or Second Indochina War).[67]. He was overthrown in a coup in 1965 led by Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The violence first skyrocketed when the French responded to an FLN-led general strike and bombings by combing the city for pro-independence fighters. Although the use of torture quickly became well-known and was opposed by the left-wing opposition, the French state repeatedly denied its employment, censoring more than 250 books, newspapers and films (in metropolitan France alone) which dealt with the subject and 586 in Algeria. 2001. Just as Algeria and France are undertaking a joint effort to preserve the historical legacy of the Algerian War, a recently released book reveals details about the clandestine operations carried out by French intelligence services. [56] This affair ended in 2000 when the "Cour de cassation" (French supreme jurisdiction) concluded that it was legitimate to publish these assertions. Bigeard also recognized that Larbi Ben M’Hidi had been assassinated, and his death disguised as a "suicide".[23]. [28] He was put in charge of military arrests and then had to resign. Massu, 94 years old, acknowledged Ighilahriz's testimony and declared to 'Le Monde' that "Torture isn't indispensable in times of war, and one can very well do without it. Jane Marie Todd. Stora, Benjamin. [7], It was found much later that Gaston Gosselin, a member of the Ministry of Justice who was responsible for internment issues in metropolitan France, had leaked the report to the journalists of Le Monde. French patriots point to the loss of their own soldiers and settler militias – some 28,000 dead, 75,000 injured and thousands more missing. The Algerian war in the French psyche is often likened to the Vietnam War for Americans — two conscription wars that ended in humiliating defeat. [66] Robin also argued that a 1959 agreement between France and Argentina instaured a "permanent French military mission" which was located in the offices of the chief of staff of the Argentine Armed Forces. This greatly influences the judge and courts.[39]. On the contrary, they were considered as "terrorists" and deprived of the rights to which belligerents are legally entitled during a war, including cases of civil wars under Geneva Convention Protocol II. Algeria: 1830 – 2000 A Short History. [citation needed] Besides prohibiting the use of torture, the Geneva Conventions gave the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to the detainees. General Massu's 10e division parachutiste, (10th Paratroop Division) made widespread use of methods used during the Indochina War (1947–54): they included a systematic use of torture, including against civilians, a block warden system (quadrillage), illegal executions and forced disappearances, in particular through what would later become known as "death flights" (at the time, victims of such methods were known as "Bigeard's shrimps", or "crevettes Bigeard"[citation needed]). François Mitterrand, the Minister of Justice, had, as a matter of fact, an emissary near [General] Massu in the person of judge Jean Bérard who covered us and knew exactly what was going on at night. "The State, Historians and Memories: The Algerian War in France, 1992–2002", conference at the international symposium "Contemporary Historians and the Public Use of History", "The violations of the law during the French-Algerian War" in, Branche, Raphaëlle. Privacy | On July 1, 1962, Algerians overwhelmingly voted for independence and on July 3, French Pres. Emanuel Macron, the first French president born after the Algerian War (1954-1962), caused controversy during his election campaign when he declared in February 2017 that France’s colonization of Algeria was a crime against humanity, true brutality and “part of the history that we must face by apologizing to those against whom we have committed such practices”. far-right weekly newspapers, La Nation française, Rivarol, Carrefour have started to publish articles on crimes committed against supporters of French Algeria. [25], Henri Alleg, director of the Alger Républicain newspaper and of the Algerian Communist Party (PCA), who himself had been tortured, denounced it in La Question (Minuit, 1958), which sold 60,000 copies in one day. If we add to this, the number of European civilians, which government figures posit as 2,788.[viii]. [citation needed] A confidential report of the ICRC leaked to Le Monde newspaper confirmed the allegations of torture made by the opposition to the war, represented in particular by the French Communist Party (PCF) and other anti-militarist circles. The Prefecture of Police denied using torture or undue violence. Tr. Hussey, Andrew. At the time, Horne could not confirm or deny that torture had been ordered by the highest ranks of the military and civilian hierarchy of the French state. True, because the Algerian independence conflict from 1954 to 1962 embroiled France in a colonial war that cost tens of thousands of French lives (not to mention the huge cost in Algerian lives), triggered violent protests, and brought about a change of leadership in the home country. Disclaimer | [4][53] However, since General Massu's revelations, Bigeard has now admitted the use of torture, although he denies having personally used it. There still remain other methods. The ICRC was authorized by Radical-Socialist prime minister Pierre Mendès France on 2 February 1955, to have access to the detainees for short missions of one month, but their report "was not to be made public." The Court of Cassation rejected the intercession in December 2004. "[38] A note diffused by the French arm of the FLN to its branches in September 1959 specifically focused on making claims of torture to influence the legal system: For those of our brothers who will be arrested, it is important to specify what attitude they must adopt. New York: Oxford University Press. * Slavery in the West Indies, including Haiti for centuries. (Branche, 2004). This paper will show that the French government’s weak commitment to maintaining the rule of law and her tradition of civil liberties cost her public support when the war began to impose on Metropolitan France. Masses of disaffected Algerians had been imported to rebuild post-second-world-war France on low wages, and the influx continued after the Algerian war. These men personally directed the atrocities now being revealed, and revel in their grisly stories, confirming in the process the role of French politicians in them. [7][16][17][18], Historian Raphaëlle Branche [fr], maîtresse de conférences in contemporary history at the University of Paris I – Sorbonne, who wrote her doctoral thesis on the use of torture during the Algerian war, noted that "in metropolitan France, torture did not attain the same height as in Algeria. Jean-Luc Einaudi: "La bataille de Paris: 17 October 1961", 1991, French Section of the Workers' International, Church of the Augsburg Confession of Alsace and Lorraine, "La torture et l'armée pendant la guerre d'Algérie". Instead, the aim of torture was not to make people talk but to affect the armed groups as a whole and to break the civilian population's morale. As he pointed out, France's war crimes don't end there. People affiliated with the French rule in Algeria who stayed after the French left suffered retributive violence. The scale of French retaliations instilled fear and anger among the Algerian population and vengeance among the pied noirs. [7], On 5 January 1960 the newspaper Le Monde published a summary of the report on the ICRC's seventh mission to Algeria. French Gen. Paul Aussaresses, whose remorseless admission of executions and torture during the Algerian independence war five decades ago forced France … [20][21][22][23] French military chaplains quieted the troubled military's consciences. In general, the area was tension-filled, with frequent clashes between the French and the Algerian people. The civilian authorities relinquished control to the military during the Battle of Algiers from January to October 1957. 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