Switzerland indicts former Algeria defense minister for war crimes and crimes against humanity


Switzerland’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) announced Tuesday that it has formally charged former Algerian defense minister Khaled Nezzar in relation to war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the Algerian Civil War.

In the indictment submitted to Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court (FCC), prosecutors said “Nezzar is accused of violating the laws of armed conflicts in accordance with the Geneva Conventions between 1992 and 1994 in connection with the civil war in Algeria and of committing crimes against humanity.” The OAG alleges that Nezzar “condoned, coordinated or ordered” acts of torture committed by his subordinates.

In 2011, Switzerland began criminal proceedings against Khaled Nezzar, on the basis of a criminal complaint from TRIAL International.

Nezzar was accused of committing war crimes under Articles 108 and 109 of Switzerland’s Military Criminal Code of 13 June 1927, but the OAG dropped the charges in 2017 after reasoning that the civil war was not an internal armed conflict as defined by law, and as a result, Switzerland did not have jurisdiction to investigate any potential war crimes.

However, the Federal Criminal Court determined on appeal that the hostilities constituted an internal armed conflict due to their level of violence.

The OAG filed its latest indictment against Nezzar after interrogating a total of 24 people. In it, Nezzar stands accused of violating Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, Articles 4 and 6 of the Second Additional Protocol of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions, Articles 108 and 109 of the Military Criminal Code, and crimes against humanity under Article 264a of the Swiss Criminal Code (SCC).

TRIAL International posted on the social media platform X saying they welcomed the news, which comes almost twelve years after they filed their initial criminal complaint.