Algerian Minister of Mudjahidine, Tayeb Zitouni, on Monday attributed the stalled Algerian-French negotiations to the non-recognition of the horrendous colonial crimes committed against Algerians and to “the intransigence of the French side in expressing any sincere intention to make the negotiations a success”.
Mr. Tayeb Zitouni, during a field visit to Jijel, accused the French authorities of blocking the disputed memory cases. “The French authorities do not show a sincere willingness to deal with these cases. There is a blockage on the French side.
Relationships are frozen. We hold the French side responsible for this situation,” he told local media. He cited the files of the archives of the National Liberation War, the compensation of the victims of the atomic tests in the Algerian Sahara, the skulls of the Algerian resistance fighters (deposited in a museum in Paris) and the activists who disappeared during the Liberation War between 1954 and 1962.
“France, whatever it does to delay things, will still have to apologize officially, acknowledge its crimes and compensate Algerians (…) We must now think about other methods, go beyond diplomacy and joint working groups,” Tayeb Zitouni underlined.
In the first quarter of 2016, Algiers and Paris set up joint commissions to study issues relating in particular to the recovery of Algerian archives. Mr. Tayeb Zitouni stated in July 2016 that only 2% of the archives held by France have been recovered by Algeria. He added that Algeria does not intend to waive its claim to the restitution of the entire archives adding that a request is supported by the National Organization of Mujahidine (ONM).
For years, the ONM has been demanding the opening of the file on seventeen French nuclear tests, including four aerial tests in southern Algeria, between 1961 and 1966, to compensate Algerian victims. On 5 January 2010, the French Parliament adopted Act 2010/2 on the recognition and compensation of victims of French nuclear tests.
The Morin Law, followed by a decree, listed 21 radiation-induced diseases resulting from exposure to ionizing radiation due to nuclear tests.
The text was amended at the end of January 2019 to require victims to prove their exposure to a certain level of radiation in order to receive compensation.
This provoked the deep anger of the associations of victims of the French atomic tests.