The files are expected to confirm the widespread use of torture, war crimes and extra-judicial killings by the French forces during the 1954-1962 war of independence.

The declassification is not expected to include the army's files.
The declassification is not expected to include the army's files. (TRTWorld)

France will open classified police files from the Algerian war 15 years ahead of schedule in order to "look the truth in the eyes", the government has announced.   

"We have things to rebuild with Algeria. They can only be rebuilt on the truth," said Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot while talking to BFMTV on Friday. 

"I want this question – which is troubling, aggravating, and where falsifiers of history are at work – I want us to be able to look it in the eyes. We can't build a national story on a lie," she added. 

Asked about the likelihood that incidents of torture will be uncovered in the archives, Bachelot said: "It is in the interest of the country that they are recognised.

"We should never fear the truth. We must put it in context."

The files cover criminal investigations during the 1954-1962 war of independence and are likely to confirm the widespread use of torture, war crimes and extra-judicial killings by French forces. 

The declassification is not expected to include the army's files. 

READ MORE: Millions of dead later, Algeria’s War of Independence never ended

'Inexcusable crimes'

The announcement comes as France seeks to defuse a major diplomatic crisis between the two countries. 

It was triggered in October when President Emmanuel Macron accused Algeria's "political-military system" of rewriting history and fomenting "hatred towards France".

The trauma of the Algerian War has poisoned French politics for the past 60 years. 

Macron in October condemned "inexcusable crimes" during a 1961 crackdown against Algerian pro-independence protesters in Paris, during which police led by a former Nazi collaborator killed dozens of demonstrators and threw their bodies into the river Seine.

The president has, however, ruled out an official apology for France's actions – seeing such a move as a gift to far-right opponents in next year's presidential election.

READ MORE: Macron 'recognises' 1961 massacre of Algerians but no apology for 'crimes'

Meanwhile, his criticisms of the Algerian government in October have turned always-thorny relations into a full-blown crisis. 

It did not help that Macron questioned whether Algeria had existed as a nation before the French invasion in the 1800s.

And it came just a month after France sharply reduced visa quotas for North African citizens. 

Algeria has responded by withdrawing its ambassador and banning French military planes from its airspace.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies