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Friday, 15 June, 2001, 21:55 GMT 22:55 UK
French general charged over Algeria
General Aussaresses
General Aussaresses: No regrets
By Hugh Schofield in Paris

An 82-year-old former French general who admitted carrying out torture and executions during the war in Algeria is to stand trial on the charge of being an apologist for war crimes.

Paul Aussaresses wrote a book, Special Services Algeria: 1955-1957, which caused a sensation when it came out two months ago.

It contained cold-blooded descriptions of how the general took part in what he said was the routine torture of Algerian captives.

He personally killed several prisoners, he said, but the practice was known and approved, he claimed, by the highest military and political levels.

On record

After failing to bring charges against him for crimes against humanity, a French human rights group has now successfully persuaded a judge that he should stand trial.

Mr Aussaresses, who was stripped of his military rank after the book came out, has said he simply wants to put on record, without passing judgement, the brutal inside story of the Algerian war.

But the mood in France is increasingly one of atonement for atrocities committed in the former colony, and the book, which expresses no regret for what happened, has struck a very raw nerve.

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See also:

06 Jun 01 | Europe
Torture general punished
14 May 01 | Middle East
French general in Algeria torture claim
04 May 01 | Europe
Chirac condemns torture general
07 Feb 01 | Europe
France plans Algeria memorial
07 Dec 00 | Middle East
Timeline: Algeria
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