Archive files + Fire = No cases

Following the assassination of former DGSN director, Ali Tounsi, Ennahar newspaper published today this article (link to the article in French and in Arabic):

Records destroyed relating to cases that Ali Tounsi had put under investigation over the past decade. Services of Civil Protection managed to save in 2500 files. . the Public Prosecutor ordered the opening of an investigation.

The records service at the security of the wilaya of Algiers has been object to a terrible fire Thursday which destroyed a large part of the legal issues relating to corruption cases which the police court was being investigating these years on the orders of former Director General of National Security, Colonel Ali Tounsi.

According to corroborating sources, the fire broke out Thursday noon but was kept secret in order to avoid it being publicized. It has affected more than 3,000 legal files, totally destroyed by fire, while two thousand five hundred other cases have been saved thanks to the intervention of services for civil defense who managed to extinguish the fire quickly.

The same sources added that a judicial investigation was opened by order of Public Prosecutor, at the court of Sidi M’hamed to know the conditions and causes of this incident and to determine whether the fire was a crime or not, especially since many signs suggest that is the case and the objective is simply to destroy evidence.

Concerning the records, our sources have indicated that these latter, numbering three thousand, relate to judicial police investigations into corruption, the late Colonel Ali Tounsi ordered during the last ten years. Classified investigations, others still ongoing in addition to other records relating to PV hearing in serious cases of corruption.

The destroyed records generally concern cases currentlyunder investigation by the services of the judicial police of the time when the divisional commissioner Abdelaziz Affani was responsible for the judicial police in Algiers. Records destroyed are not only about the investigations by the judicial police of Algiers security but also investigations on the orders of the Directorate General of National Security (DGSN), which are usually carried out by the judicial police since the DGSN do not have mechanisms to investigate except for overruns of police officers and especially after the dissolution of the Office of fight against organized crime of Châteauneuf.

According to sources well informed about the subject, given the sensitivity of the records destroyed and those rescued, the site hit by fire represents the black box for the circles of corruption in Algeria, as all evidence and documents that involve people in these cases were in the Archives of the safety of Algiers. This suggests that there is criminal intent behind this incident.

This fire comes a few days after the assassination of Colonel Ali Tounsi for reasons still unknown. This short time between the fire and the killing of Colonel Ali Tounsi opens many questions and interpretations, especially that the deceased colonel was behind the opening of investigations in most cases whose files were destroyed in fire.

Ennahar / Ismail Fellah

I don’t want to go on the usual and depressing hypotheses such as the clans’ competitions inside the Algerian system, the “DRS versus Bouteflika” battle, the business mafia inside the system, or even that Ennahar is being just another tool in this competition (and this information could be just a big lie). Simply because we know that we know… absolutely nothing, and all we have are hints and patterns (I agree they are strong ones).
I will just say that we have many years ahead before corruption is stopped and this rotten system is thrown out. But I guess this issue is not very important, and our football NT’s loss against Serbia is more worrisome.

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6 thoughts on “Archive files + Fire = No cases

  1. Strange coincidence; I discovered ‘Patriots on Fire’ suddenly when I was browsing for some thing else related to the word ‘Fire’ which is related to my actual field ‘Fire Safety’, but I didn’t hesitate to comment on many of its topics just because they are specifically related to Algerian issues. For now; here is a topic totally related to fire safety aspects in Algeria.

    I would wonder if a highly secured building of first priority … such as the security record’s service of the Wilaya of Algiers, hasn’t have an adequate monitored fire detection system in place on 2010?

    Arsons remains the night mare of fire safety sector world wide, because it is not merely a fire safety issue, it’s rather a judicial affair. But; Justice at the present time has fire at home!

    Who is to blame right now the Chicken or the Egg?

    Hope it’s one of the left harmonise of the ‘dark decade-quake’ as the pick one is already over.

    God bless Algeria

    • The latest I heard about Fire Safety considerations in buildings in Algeria was when authorities attempted to explain why it is taking so long to refurbrish cinemas in Constantine and reopen them.

      They said they had to re-do all the seats and wall panels as none was in accordance to fire safety standards. And I do not think Algerian legislation has fire safety regulations.

      Have you worked on projects in this field here in Algeria Mohamed?

  2. I am dealing with fire safety in England for decade now, and never in Algeria, I have been for a while researching fire safety aspects in Algeria, I found out that fire safety is considered as a tiny bit of the safety at the working place… not like else i.e. in England it’s an industry on its own, and Yes Algeria has fire safety regulation but they are just general documents, they don’t have code of practice to be applied on the daily basis… read more below.

    [… The executive Decree N° 91-05 of 19 January 1991, published on official journal of Algerian Republic N04 on 23 January 1991, in regards to the general prescriptions of applicable safety and security protection at the working places [5]. Its title N°3 from article 46 to 60 represents the Algerian fire safety regulations; those articles mention the vital necessary prevention and protection measures to be considered. Conversely, compared to other counterparts, national and international regulations, the Algerian fire regulation remains relatively incomplete; for example, there is no single indication on those regulations, of the crucial requirement of fire detection and alarm systems to be in place, as part of the ‘Active Fire Protection’….]

    See the rest of the article in the link below:

  3. 1 Title: An Overview of Algerian Fire Safety Context

    2 Abstract:

    This paper exposes a brief overview, of the current status and the expected evolution of fire protection industry in Algeria. It uncovers the subject from different perspectives and concerns, fire safety legislations, standards and codes, market trends, engineering disciplines and professional bodies… At present time, loads foreign traders looking to invest in Algerian fire safety sector, would like to know what’s what, to whom they should address to and deal with, and essentially, what framework is applicable in regards to the national fire safety regulations and codes…

    3 Introduction:

    Fire safety industry is a global market, it has been and still one of the most lucrative emerging market for decades; it is playing a key role in the modern world’s economy, this fast growing sector has just reached an annual growth of almost 3 Billion pounds in UK only [1], while the total world fire safety market shows growth of 10% since 2004, and reached over 60 billion Euros in 2007. Even with this amazing business growth the death toll of fire accidents still approximately 12 000 in the USA, 7000 in Europe and more than 50 000 in Asia per year. The loss of assets is about 70 billion Euros per year with an increasing tendency over the next years [2], the total cost approaches 1% of the total GDP [3]

    Climate change and world terrorism challenges in one side, and advanced technologies in particular nanotechnology, microelectronics and information technology in the other side; are providing even more business opportunities and innovative solutions to fire protection industry. Certainly the prime potency of this industry is that, it is well backed by the legislation; ‘A means of fire precaution MUST be in place’. Yet, the modern world’s countries have already experienced tremendous achievement by turning this enforcement into substantial investment and business opportunities, which merely means, their fire safety industry employment rate and income Tax figures, are amongst the top records, while in the developing countries unfortunately, fire safety sector doesn’t surpass the fire fighting roles, and still relying exclusively on government funding. Nonetheless the lack of accuracy in fire safety statistics figures and proficiency into handling fire incident and crisis situations in general.

    4 Fire safety Legislation, enforcement authority and infrastructure in Algeria:

    Generally, fire safety legislation exists in nearly every nation. Some are extensive and relatively complete while others are extremely basic, if not primitive. The legislation in Algeria in regards to the fire safety of people and property has been promulgated by presidential decrees No 76-04 of 20 February 1976 [4], and since then, fire safety regulations have been upgraded several times. The Civil Defense (La Protection Civile) is the main enforcement authority, under the ‘Ministry of the Interior and the local communities’, it has established (The Directorate General of Civil Defense) to be in charge of the mission, then re-structured afterward by decree 1991, to create the ‘General Inspection Unit’ with its various structures and sectors all over the country, to reinforce more control over its services.

    Consequently, fire safety legislation along with its enforcement authority and infrastructure do exist in Algeria for decades, The executive Decree N° 91-05 of 19 January 1991, published on official journal of Algerian Republic N04 on 23 January 1991, in regards to the general prescriptions of applicable safety and security protection at the working places [5]. Its title N°3 from article 46 to 60 represents the Algerian fire safety regulations; those articles mention the vital necessary prevention and protection measures to be considered. Conversely, compared to other counterparts, national and international regulations, the Algerian fire regulation remains relatively incomplete; for example, there is no single indication on those regulations, of the crucial requirement of fire detection and alarm systems to be in place, as part of the ‘Active Fire Protection’.

    Undoubtedly Algerian fire regulations may need to meet further international requirements accordingly, and entail advanced procedures and methodologies more related to the technical practices appropriate to the modern demands, while performing regular inspections to the private and public sectors, in order to force them, to fully comply with the fire regulations. But to put it bluntly, a set of Algerian national fire codes which are not legislations but rather ‘benchmarks’, may have to be drafted, developed or upgraded and then put into force, so that; if properly applied, it comes to a good practice of the fire safety standards and codes, which lead to a full compliancy to the fire regulations. This actually remains one the pending works to be seriously looked at, by Algerian fire safety officials; legislators and standardization body.

    5 Algerian fire safety standards

    It is fairly clear that high safety standards application remains one of the most significant features of a developed nation, although high level of cooperation with international standard organizations in particular ISO, may reflect a high commitment into the matter.

    ISO is the worldwide standards-producing body; with its representatives from 157 countries, it has developed hundreds of thousands of standards on a variety of subjects, which they do not only meet, but often exceed the national ones; also still have profound influence on national legislations and standards world wide.

    ISO has drafted and still developing ISO/TC92 fire safety standards, related to the assessment and control of fire risk of materials, products and structures in the broadest sense, using FSE (Fire Safety Engineering) solutions such as PRA (Probabilistic Risk Analysis), and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) approaches for fire modeling and heat transfer simulations, to predict the initiation, growth and spread of fire, and also simulate people’s behaviour and evacuation…etc, Algeria hasn’t yet been participant nor observer into drafting and developing the ISO/TC92, in spite of it is a ‘Member Body’ of ISO, participating in 41 other ISO/TCs standards in various fields, through IANOR (Institut Algerien de NORmalisation). The only fire safety related standards is participating with, is the ISO/TC21 related solely to equipment for fire protection and fire fighting [6]. This may reflect the limited involvement in regards to fire safety as an ‘engineering discipline’, bearing in mind that, ISO/TC92 codes are profoundly related to the various inevitable modern applications; intelligent buildings, tunnels, marines, oil fields, nuclear power stations, aviations and aeronautics… etc

    Internationally; there is concern of promoting and performing fire safety sector in Algeria, the Professor ‘Ali Nadjai’ of Fire Structural Engineering at Ulster University in Jordanstown, is actively involved into the matter, he has initiated since mid 2007 contact between the institute of Fire Safety Engineering Research and Technology Centre ‘FireSERT’ and Algerian Ministry of Research and Education as well as representatives of the private sector. His proposals of collaborations generated a lot of interest among both the public and private sectors in Algiers, and his initial contact seems to be very promising. [7]

    Conversely, Algeria showed an enthusiastic response in the Barcelona meetings of the Euro-Mediterranean conference in 1995, which was focused on strengthening political and security cooperation with the southern Mediterranean countries, this was followed on 27-29, 2006 in Varese (Italy), by the CEN Commission of European Norm’s conference entitled ‘EUROCODES: Building the future in the Euro-Mediterranean area’, it has been decided to the adoption of the EUROCODES not only by the new 10 EU members but also the southern Mediterranean, Algeria a long with Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan …etc [8]. But, does ‘one size fits all’ works in this issue?

    Although, IANOR has recently launched a national plan for standardization (Program National de Normalization) PNN 2009 [9], opened for contributions to all concerned professional parties and organizations, to take part into performing Algerian national standards, IANOR has 57 technical committees working in various fields, the national technical committee CTN no 04 is actually in charge of fire safety standardization. The Algerian prescriptive fire safety codes are incorporated with the safety codes at work, illustrated in the (catalogue Algerien des normes) under CTN 04[10], they have equivalency either to old French norms NF (Normes Francaises), European Norms EN or ISO norms.

    However, how tight are Algerian fire codes, in regards to actual national and international requirements? What has been done up till now? And what is left to be done?

    It is fundamental to say; Algerian fire codes are just general documents they don’t have detailed codes of practices for fire safety requirement to be applied on a daily basis. Although; there is still significant differences, between the Algerian fire safety norms and other national ones such as BS (British Standards), EN (European Normes), NFPA (National fire Protection Association) codes of USA, AFC (Australian Fire Codes), and NFC (National Fire Codes) of Canada…, for example, there is no single indication in CTN04 codes, in regards to the types and levels of protection to be applied to any given premises, based on appropriate fire risk assessment and consequently the right design of fire detection and alarm system to be in place.

    For instance, all the existing national and international fire safety codes are either a ‘prescriptive’ type, or ‘performance-based design’ type, or a combination of both. However, due to the increasing modern architectural buildings all over the world, it becomes now widely recognized that performance-based design codes provide greater advantages over the prescriptive codes, since it imposes a cost-effective objectives rather then traditional and expansive solutions. It allows fire safety designers to use the FSE approaches, Despite that some times, it is not always that evident, particularly when integrating multi-dimensional fire engineering simulations, which might need clusters of computers or HPCs (High Performance Computers). Still, the key point is that, the development of performance-based design guides may help into bridging the gap between the outdated traditional prescriptive codes and the modern architectural demands of the global economy. Inevitably, this is where Algerian national fire safety coders may focus on so far!

    Although, despite that FSE is far yet to be an exact science, it is actually recognized by the developed world as a professional engineering discipline, since it uses practical scientific and engineering solutions to reduce the risk and not to guaranty that fire will not strike, for what so ever amount of planning. Similarly to others catastrophe modeling; seismology, volcanology…, or even weather forecast engineering. All it aims for is ‘reaching the best predictions to reduce the maximum of risk and damage.

    6 Algeria and the world

    Many third world countries are exhibiting more interest into drafting their own appropriate fire safety regulations and standards, or upgrading their old ones.

    South Africa is ranked the top country, even far ahead of the rest of African countries, and the only African country participant to ISO/TC92, it’s applying numerous foreign fire safety codes, depending on who is trading out there, amongst the codes; NFPA, AFC, BS…, Algeria remains classified at the second rank in Africa [11], a long with Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt. Also, these are still far ahead of the rest of African countries.

    In the Middle East, Dubai Civil Defense is drafting its own codes closely with ‘Honeywell Life Safety’; the international provider of fire safety products, and one of the main giant players in fire safety coding. The codes are likely to be ready by end of 2010 [12]. The Golf countries are usually of close trends with the exception of Yemen.

    Many South American countries; Mexico Peru and Venezuela…etc, has entered into agreement with the American standards associations in particular, NFPA and NIST (National Institute of Standard and Technology) to translate their standards into Spanish. [13]. While Brazil is a bit in advance, it’s already working through upgrading its old prescriptive codes to performance-based design codes [14].

    Asian countries are presently in the process of developing performance based design guides, in particular; China, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

    Among the developed world the British on 1985, followed by New Zealand on 1992, then Australia on 1995 were the first to publish performance-based design codes [15]

    7 Fire safety market in Algeria

    During the last decade, Algeria has seen a growing industrialization and urbanization in some of which presents a host of new challenges in this potentially lucrative emerging market, fire safety is one challenge facing government, public and private sectors. Although the past records of accidents; natural disasters and terrorism are among other problems that pose great challenges to the Algerian nation.

    ‘New Fields Exhibitions Inc’ is a leading provider of information on emerging markets world wide, and the world’s largest international organizer of exhibitions. It has rated Algeria as an excellent market in North Africa, to sell fire products and services, due to its recent political stability, urbanization, strategic position, young population, large land, and natural resources…etc. this is particularly true since its ‘3rd Algeria Fire Safety and Security Expos’ in the ‘Palai Des Exposition d’Alger’ Algiers, is due by 26-28 May 2009. It is typically a vending Expo [16]. Nonetheless it is a fairly good step forward, since it provides a complete range of procurement solutions, for Algerian importers distributors, suppliers and traders looking for fire, rescue and emergency response products…etc, and optimistically franchising opportunities will catch up more shares. But loads strategic objectives have to be achieved still. Fire safety in Algeria has to surpass the bazaar market, to a long term vision, towards technology transfer, expertise sharing and know how. Likewise, fire safety industry may provide more than fire protection to the Algerian nation, if setting up various trading fire companies to be in charge of installation and maintenance of fire protection equipments, this may open a massive employment opportunities for technicians and graduated engineers actually classified as a job seekers, or either eagerly looking to immigrate into the western countries…

    8 Conclusion:

    Algeria has established the Algerian National School of Civil Defense by decree 1964, to train specialist managers, engineer-officers and fire fighters. This is unfortunately the only fire safety related institute. But, to catch up emerged world; fire safety industry has to be built up, a long with fire protection as an engineering discipline to be incorporated into Algerian colleges and universities, and to develop a full program of CPDs (Continual Professional Development) to keep up fire safety staff updated of eventual technologies news and engineering innovations, also to built up fire safety professional bodies to run fire safety seminars, forums and publishing activities, in addition to accreditation bodies, to certify the right dealers and products. Ultimately, it is fire safety culture and fire safety economy to be built up, with all what the words mean

    —————————————–Ref. available on request———————————————-


    Mohamed Cherif Benzerari
    Elec. Eng.
    Service & Commissioning Engineer at
    DRAX (UK) Ltd

  4. Thanks for this detailed information Mohamed.

    Going back to MnarviDZ post, although I do not trust this newspaper Ennahar, this fire might well have taken place. But if the entire thing was really staged by high ranking officials, why wait till a few weeks after the death of Tounsi? Anybody could have taken the files and backed them up in between…I think it’s just to get rumors going or enhance them.

    • True, but I guess there’s little for us to understand/analyse given that we lack a fair part of the information. But events such as this or this are really interesting.
      Regarding the fire, I only saw it reported in Elwatan quoting Ennahar. So today there’s no other source about it and we can’t tell for sure it happened or that files disappeared.

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