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an "integral” part of France, 1 and that the rebellion is being directed by a small group of disorganized revolutionaries who neither represent the will of the majority of the Algerian people nor enjoy their support.
1By ordinances passed in 1833 and 1834 by the French Government, Algeria was declared to be annexed to France, and the population considered “French subjects”.
“After examining the organic structures of the Revolution and their adaptation to new circumstances, the C. N. R. A. set up by-laws and codified the first institutions of the Algerian State.
“Within this framework, it proceeded to a modification and a concentration of the governmental apparatus. It recommended the creation, within the Government, of an Interministerial Com. mittee of National Defense to which the General Staff will be directly linked. ...
Following is the composition of the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic announced in this communique:
- Ferhat Abbas Vice-Premier and Minister
of External Affairs Krim Belkacem
Ahmed Ben Bella
- Said Mohammedi
Abdel Hamid Mehri
and Communications Abdel Hafid Boussouf
Lakhdar Ben Tobbal
Until mid-1956 France termed her participation in the Algerian conflict a "police action". As the size and scope of the conflict continued to expand, France explained that her military forces were present in Algeria to carry out an "operation of pacification”.
The corollary of the French position that Algeria is an "internal” matter is that the adversaries of France are considered as common criminals. To deal with the conflict, France has adopted special legislation which grants exceptional powers to the civil and military authorities in Algeria who are responsible for the maintenance of order. 1 These special powers, as will be discussed in subsequent chapters of this paper, have tended to lead to exhorbitant practices, such as arbitrary arrests and detentions, tortures, reprisals and summary executions. 2
The regularity with which these excesses have occurred demonstrates the urgent need for applying the basic humanitarian principles of the Geneva Conventions to the Algerian conflict. The Government of France is a Party to these Conventions. On June 28, 1951, France unreservedly ratified the Geneva Conventions and thus, according to the First Article, common to all four Conventions, bound itself “to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances".
See Appendix IV, p. 68 below. 2See pp. 26-54 below.
Revolution, the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic has designated the following as members of the Interministerial Committee of National Defense:
Krim Belkacem (Vice Premier and Minister of External Af-
cations). 2Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, North Vietnam, Outer Mongolia, the People's Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Republic and Yemen. France does not admit that the Geneva Conventions apply to the Algerian conflict. Professor Roger Pinto, of the Paris Faculty of Law, commenting on the French position, pointed out that “two obstacles have paralyzed the employment of the Geneva Conventions: the fear of giving the F. L. N. an international status of belligerency and the absence of reciprocity in respect to the humanitarian rules.” 1
Within the framework of this French position, it is relevant to note the special nature of Article 3, of all four Geneva Conventions. 2 This Article deals with armed conflicts "not of an international nature occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Powers”. The provisions of this Article constitute the underlying principles of humanitarian. ism guaranteed by the Conventions. The Article sets down certain imperative rules regarding acts to be strictly "prohibited"; it provides that the provisions of the Article may be automatically applicable without any condition of reciprocity; and it guarantees that the legal status of the Parties to the conflict will in no way be affected by the application of the Article.
1 Roger Pinto, “Pour PApplication des Conventions de Geneve en Algerie” (In Favor of applying the Geneva Conventions in Algeria), Le Monde, Paris, July 2, 1958.
2 For several authoritative interpretations of the provisions of the Geneva Conventions see the following: a) G. A. I. D. Draper, The Red Cross Conventions, New York,
1949, Vol. II, Section B, Berne (Switzerland), Federal Politi-
present Article 3 was discussed as Article 2 and later as 2A. c) Commentary, Volume I, Geneva Convention for the Ameliora
tion of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed F07-
cant clauses of the Article by the framers of the Conventions.
THE POSITION OF THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE ALGERIAN REPUBLIC FOR APPLICATION OF THE GENEVA
Moved by the desire to humanize the war in Algeria to the maximum possible and concerned with respecting both the political and juridical realities, the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic considers that the situation in Algeria requires the application of all the laws of war. Thus, the Algerian leaders have incessantly called for the aplication of the basic humanitarian principles to the conflict by many demarches and declarations since 1955. And, in the first “Policy Declaration” of the Algerian Provisional Government made by Premier Ferhat Abbas, on September 26, 1958, it was announced:
the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic will welcome with the greatest favor any international initiative aimed at achieving the application to the Algerian war of the humanitarian
arrangements of the Geneva Conventions." On April 11, 1960 the Algerian Provisional Government announced its decision to ratify the Conventions. (See Appendix VI).
Moreover, the Provisional Government has already proceeded to the unconditional release of French prisoners (both civilian and military) through the International Committee of the Red Cross. 1 In press interviews following the releases, and upon their return to France, the persons released commented on the satisfactory treatment they received while in captivity. Following are a few typical statements:
1 See ICRC and the Algerian Conflict, March 1955 - June 1959: Berne, Switzerland. The International Committee of the Red Cross.