Algeria is deciding whether to pardon those involved in bloodshed a decade ago





MILLIONS of Algerians confronted the legacy of their bloody civil war yesterday in a referendum on whether to pardon those responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. The authorities in Algiers were last night confident that the Government’s Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation would pass comfortably, enabling the country to heal the wounds of its bitter decade-long conflict.

President Bouteflika, who has spent weeks travelling across Algeria campaigning for the “yes” vote, appeared briefly to cast his ballot in the capital’s El Biar district.

He needs a substantial majority of the country’s 18 million voters to give his controversial charter legitimacy. It would offer an amnesty to all those involved in the conflict unless they were responsible for massacres, rapes or bombings of public places. It would reject any responsibility by the security forces for thousands of disappearances during the civil war and provide compensation for the families of victims.



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