Algeria’s National Organisation of Mujahideen wants law criminalising French colonialism, following 66th anniversary of massacre of Setif
The 1945 massacre of Setif sowed the seeds for the Algerian war of independence

Algeria's National Organisation of Mujahideen, the veterans of the war of independence, has asked the new parliament to adopt a law criminalising French colonialism.

"We really want the adoption by the new parliament of a law criminalising French colonialism," Said Abadou, the organisation's general secretary, told Radio Algerie Internationale.

Abadou said it had become a "national duty, a response to the law glorifying colonialism which was adopted by the French parliament in 2005", the APS news agency reported.

Similar initiatives were taken in 2010 and 2011.

In 2010, 125 MPs from different political parties signed a bill asking for the criminalisation of French colonialism.

The group said it wanted the establishment of special courts to try the perpetrators of colonial crimes or they would try to use the law to pursue prosecutions through international courts.

They also want France to "apologise for the colonial period and compensate the Algerian people," Moussa Abdi , an MP who signed the bill, said at the time.

The bill was originally signed in the office of the National People's Congress, the lower house of parliament, and was passed to the government before further discussions could be held.

Although the initiative stalled, new impetus was injected into it in May 2011, when Mohamed Cherif Abbas, minister of the Mujahideen, backed the bill ahead of the 66th anniversary of the Setif and Guelma massacres, in which 45,000 Algerians were killed by the French forces.

Abbas has described some of the massacres committed by the French during the eight-year Algerian war as "crimes against humanity".

Abadou's fresh call for the bill to be adopted comes as Algeria commemorates the signing of the Evian accords 50 years ago. The treaty between France and the Algerian National Liberation Front put an end to the Algerian war, along with 132 years of French rule.

Algerian historians today talk of 1.5 million Algerian victims of the war, in which they insist torture was widely used by the French army.

In contrast, France puts the total number of deaths for both sides at approximately 400 000.

For decades Paris officially refused to call the Algerian war of independence a "war" and instead referred to the conflict as "events".

French President Nicolas Sarkozy recently said: "France cannot repent for having conducted this war."