In opposite reaction to Algerian and French official statements, the French Culture Ministry confirmed that the retrieving Algerian resistance Fighters’ skulls is currently impossible under the French law, asserting that if the operation took place in the future, it would only be preceded by a stage of scientific documentation, to ensure that they really belong to Algerian fighters and to identify their origin accurately.
Position of the French Culture Ministry came in response to the written accountability of the French National Assembly (Parliament) that is dated on February,6, 2018, which was addressed by the MP MaDjd El Ghorab on November,28, 2017, which copy is available to Echorouk.
According to the French Culture Ministry’s document, these skulls entered as gifts to become national contents during the 19th century, and were converted to the National Museum of Natural History (Musée de l’Homme), and it is therefore impossible to be preserved as public property under French law on heritage in its Article 451-7 of May,18, 2010.
The document explained that the French Culture Ministry studied a proposed amendment to the Heritage Law that aimed at facilitating the process of re-delivery of human remains and the preservation of conservation as public property.
According to the French Culture Ministry, the result of this legal impediment under the rule of law is a legislative solution by submitting a request to the National Assembly (parliament) to pass a law on this extradition process, as was the case with Vénus Hottentote and the heads of New Zealand Maori people.
“In this context, the request for the extradition of these human skulls can be initiated when they are identified as being of Algerian origin, which will result from an initial stage of informed documentation to arrive at a precise identification of its origin”, the French Culture Ministry said.
This position comes from the French Culture Ministry, which is directly concerned with this file, just a few days after the comments of the director of the French National Museum of Natural History, Bruno David, in which he confirmed France’s readiness to hand over a list of 41 Algerian resistors’ skulls that are exhibited in the same museum.
France maintains many Algerian resistance fighters’ skulls at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris, especially for the martyrs of the period of popular resistance that stood in the face of the spread of French colonialism across the various parts of the country and was evidence of France’s head-cutting practices during the 19th century.