There has been no process of addressing the colonial crimes committed by European countries – at least not in Europe. This has a knock-on effect that can be seen in the continued prevalence of colonial power relations in the offending states today. Critics also point to (neo-)colonial tendencies even within more recent efforts to prosecute for grave crimes.
The colonial crimes undoubtedly represent a blind spot in the ongoing success story of international criminal justice since 1945. Here the discussion will focus on the widespread use of torture by the French army in the fight against the Algerian independence uprising, as portrayed in the film The Battle of Algiers.
In the ensuing discussion with Algerian photographer Omar D. we will speak about the continuing influence of colonial and post-colonial violence to the present day, especially with regard to the disappearances of tens of thousands of alleged Islamists in Algeria during the 1990s. Secondly, the passing on of certain counter-insurgency measures and torture tecniques from Algeria to Argentina, to Iraq and to Guantánamo will be discussed by Mark Sealy and Scott Horton. This topic is addressed in the documentary film Standard Operating Procedure by Oscar winner Errol Morris, who is also invited to join the event.
Omar D.: Devoir de mémoire / A Biography of Disappearance, London 2007
Henry Alleg: La Question / The Question (Intro. by Jean-Paul Sartre), 1958
Henry Alleg: The Algerian Memoirs: Days of Hope and Combat (transl. 2011).
Patrick Wolfe: Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native, 8(4) Journal of Genocide Research 387, 2006
Tshepo Madlingozi: On Transitional Justice Entrepreneurs and the Production of Victims, Journal of Human Rights Practice, 2010.
Makau Mutua: Savages, Victims and Saviors: The Metaphor of Human Rights, Harvard International Law Journal, 2001.