Relizane Case dismissed by French Court of Appeal: Plaintiffs outraged

(Paris) In a spectacular reversal, the Investigation Chamber of the Court of Appeal in Nîmes today repealed the final order to send Hocine and Abdelkader Mohamed to trial, in a case known as the Relizane Case, thus depriving the victims of the first trial for crimes committed during the “lead years” in Algeria.

The Mohamed brothers had appealed to the Investigation Chamber the decision issued in December 2014 by the investigative judge to send the accused to trial for acts of torture and forced disappearances perpetrated during the civil war in Algeria during the 1990s.

“This decision is disgraceful and contradicts the unanimous decision taken by both the prosecution and the investigative judge, after ten years of investigations, to send the Mohamed brothers to trial before the Criminal Court. We are going to appeal this decision before the Supreme Court,”

Patrick Baudouin, FIDH Honorary President and Head of its Legal Action Group

Hocine and Abdelkader Mohamed, former militiamen who live in France and have been placed under judicial supervision, were accused of crimes of torture and enforced disappearance committed in the name of the fight against terrorism in the Relizane region in Algeria in the 1990s. A judicial investigation was opened after complaints were filed in October 2003 by FIDH and LDH, who have provided assistance to the 7 Algerian plaintiffs during the legal proceedings. Thanks to the judicial investigation, decisive testimony was collected against the accused. In July 2013, the Public Prosecutor of Nimes called for the indictment of the Mohamed brothers before the Criminal Court.

"France, once again, is shirking from its obligations set out in international law, by obstructing the quest for justice for the Algerian victims. This is especially distressful because, since the adoption of the National Peace and Reconciliation Charter in Algeria, in 2005, all efforts to obtain justice in Algeria have been in vain”

Michel Tubiana, LDH Honorary President

Questions and Answers on the Relizane case judged in France


In the 1990s Algeria was in the throes of a very violent civil war between the security services, the State-armed militia and the armed Islamic groups. This was the time when summary executions, assassinations, acts of torture, rapes, abductions, and disappearances became common practice among the various parties to the conflict, , and were treated with total impunity. The legitimate defence groups (GLD) in the Rélizane wilaya (province composed of 38 communes) had approximately 450 members at the start of 1994. The heads of the militia leaders were recruited from among the presidents of the Rélizane province DECs (executive community delegations). The DECs were established in 1992 by the Ministry of the Interior after the dissolution of city communal assemblies (assemblées populaires communales) which were controlled by the Front islamique du salut (FIS). Involvement with the militia generated considerable revenue, through theft and plundering, and also through State payments.

The Relizane militia became infamous for its abuse of the civilian population in the region (circonscription) which population was at its mercy between 1994 and 1997.

Within the militia, Hocine Mohamed, first deputy to the president of the Rélizane DEC and his brother Abdelkader Mohamed, president of the H’madna DEC and head of the H’madna militia were suspected of having committed acts of violence and of terrorising the local population.

Read more