Feminicide in Algeria: Where is the legal framework? 

Algeria, Newsletter, Women’s rights and gender justice

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In recent years, feminicide has become a thorny issue attracting the attention of the Algerian civil society as a propelling emergency. According to Féminicides Algérie, an initiative launched by two Algerian female activists, feminicide cases have already reached nine in 2022, in less than three months.

Bououd Roufaida, the most recent victim of feminicide (occurring on 1 March), was only nine years old. Back in 2021, about 55 women were killed, from different age groups. In several cases, the perpetrators were found to be close family members, i.e. fathers, brothers, uncles or husbands. This casts serious doubts on the protective role that the family is supposed to have played for these victims.  

 Yet, Algerian women’s position in society has witnessed considerable improvements during the last decade. Recent statistics from a UNESCO report (2021) have shown that 62% of higher education graduates are female students while Algeria ranks at the top of the list with a rate of 48.5% of female engineers internationally. But despite these indicators, women are still subject to the strict rule of a patriarchal society, reinforced by a national legal framework representing its bedrock. 

 Legislation for women’s emancipation  

To this day, the conventional social construct in Algeria remains predominant, making society relatively conservative and maintaining a palpable gender gap. The legal foundation, namely the Algerian Family code and the Penal code, imposes living conditions on women that clearly impede equality. Moreover, the Family code adopted in 1984 brought together rules inspired by Sharia to determine family relations. 

The Penal code, introduced in 2015, promised advancements – through Articles 266Bis and 333Bis – that specify the legal proceedings to which perpetrators of various forms of violence against women are liable, namely fines and/or imprisonment. Still, between its lines, it contains areas of misconception that allow for the perpetuation of female subjugation: the “pardon clause” allows an aggressor to escape criminal prosecution when officially forgiven by the victim. As such, Algerian victims of feminicide are ushered to their fate partially by a lack of national legal protection against potential assaulters. 

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