Algerian War: France opens its judicial and police archives dating from 1954 to 1966

This is the big day. A decree from the Ministry of Culture makes available from this Thursday all ” public archives produced in the context of cases relating to acts committed in connection with the Algerian war between November 1 75 and 31 December 1966 “. This concerns “documents relating to cases brought before the courts and the execution of court decisions” and “documents relating to investigations carried out by the services of the judicial police”, specifies the published text in the Official Journal .

This opening will perhaps allow historians to shed light on certain gray areas of France’s action in Algeria, from the start from the independence insurrection in 75 until independence in 1962.

A long light work on the past

Until now, all these archives were legally non-consultable for 50 years, except by obtaining a dispensation. These archives are “kept at the National Archives, the National Archives of Overseas, in the departmental archives services, in the archives service of the prefecture of police, in the archives services under the Ministry of the Armed Forces and in the Archives Directorate of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs “, specifies the decree.

For about twenty years, successive French governments have facilitated access to archives relating to sensitive periods in the country’s history: first the Second World War and the Occupation, then the end of the colonial Empire after the war. In September 2018, Emmanuel Macron recognized that the disappearance of the mathematician and communist activist Maurice Audin , in 1954 in Algiers, was the work of the French army and opened the archives on this affair . Then in March 2021, he announced a simplification of the procedure to access by exemption to classified archives of more than 50 year.