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Access to classified archives prior to 1971, including those on the Algerian war, will be “facilitated”

Secret defense documents over 50 years old will be declassified “from tomorrow”, announces the Elysee, following recommendations from historian Benjamin Stora.
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Emmanuel Macron has decided to facilitate access to classified archives over 50 years old, in particular those on the Algerian war, announced the Elysee Palace on Tuesday, March 9. As the report by historian Benjamin Stora advocated, the head of state “has taken the decision to allow the archives services to proceed as of tomorrow with the declassifications of documents covered by the secrecy of National Defense (…) up to the files of the year 1970 included”.

This decision should “significantly shorten the waiting times linked to the declassification procedure, particularly with regard to documents relating to the Algerian war”, according to the presidency. The announcement comes a week after the President acknowledged that lawyer and nationalist leader Ali Boumendjel had been “tortured and murdered” by the French army during the Algerian war in 1957. Gestures of appeasement recommended in the report submitted to the President on January 20 by Benjamin Stora in order to “reconcile memories” and of “look History in the face”.

The scope of the decision on the archives goes beyond the history of Algeria. Emmanuel Macron says he has “heard the demands of the university community”, who complains of the difficulties of access to classified archives over 50 years old due to the scrupulous application of a circular on the protection of national defense secrets.

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For their part, the Algerian authorities have been demanding for years the opening of the colonial archives, as well as the settlement of the question of the “disappeared” of the war of independence, more than 2,200 people according to Algiers, and that of French nuclear tests. in the Algerian Sahara. “Symbolic gestures can only have impact if they are supported by citizen mobilizations on each of the issues: archives, nuclear tests, the missing”, underlined, at the beginning of March, Benjamin Stora, in an interview with the French-speaking daily El Watan.

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