Amnesty for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: The Algerian War of Independence and the 1962 Evian Accords

Emma Lenore Orlando Budd, Fordham University


During the Algerian War of Independence, the French military is known to have carried out multiple war crimes against Algerian civilians, including torture, enforced disappearance, and conflict-related sexual violence. The Evian Accords, the peace treaty signed in 1962 which brought an end to France’s colonial rule in Algeria, granted the French military amnesty for all crimes committed during the war. As the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Evian Accords approaches in March of 2022, the French government under President Macron has dedicated a commission of truth and memorialization to commemorate individuals and events from the Algerian War of Independence. This unprecedented recognition of French colonial practices has highlighted underlying tensions remaining between France and Algeria, which only increase as France continues to refuse formal apology. Though the French commission is prevalent in international news and discourse, the issue of sexual violence perpetrated by the French military is not. Historians have prioritized the declassification of the archives from the war as the crux of the French memorialization campaign. These archives are believed to contain accounts of war crimes committed by the French, particularly many accounts of sexual violence. This paper deconstructs the codification of sexual violence in international law, the history of amnesty for crimes of sexual violence, and the specific case of the Algerian War of Independence in an effort to better understand the mechanisms of accountability and justice that could be applicable to France retroactively so that victims of conflict-related sexual violence at the hands of the French may receive some sense of closure and visibility.

Subject Area

International Relations|International law|African history

Recommended Citation

Budd, Emma Lenore Orlando, "Amnesty for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: The Algerian War of Independence and the 1962 Evian Accords" (2021). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28496889.