French court orders compensation of Algerian victims of independence war

France’s constitutional court has granted financial compensation to all victims of the Algerian War of Independence, in a move that could have a big impact throughout former French colonies.

The existing law was deemed to be unconstitutional because it only applied to current French citizens.

The court ruled to grant pension payments to all of those who suffered physical consequences during the violence that took place between October 1954 and September 1962.

The previous legislation which was written in 1963 only granted financial allowances to those of French nationalities.

An Algerian national – who was eight years old when he was injured during the violent conflict – contested the law, saying that apportioning rights based on nationalities was unconstitutional and negates the universality of rights applicable to French territories which Algeria was until 1962.

Experts say that as many as 42,000 Algerians were killed and thousands others were irradiated in 17 nuclear tests carried out by France between 1960 and 1966.

The French court ruled to modify the law to remove references to nationalities, extending rights and resulting allowances to victims or their next of kin.

While on a visit to Algeria in December, French President Emmanuel Macron called for reconciliation between the two countries.