The following article was published in the April 2022 special issue of the International Review of Contemporary Law, the journal of the IADL.
When talking about the influence of major thinkers on us as individuals or as an organization, we often say “We stand on the shoulders of giants.” While Roland Weyl may not have been a giant in stature, he was a giant in so many ways and played an outsized role in the history and development of IADL and by extension international law. This accolade also belongs to Monique Weyl.
In his youth, when people were fighting against fascism in World War II, Roland was part of the Resistance. When people were struggling against colonialism, Roland and Monique were there to fight alongside them. When people were struggling against repression of social and political movements, Roland and Monique were there — using their skills and their presence to fight back. Whether it was Korea or Vietnam, Algeria, South Africa, Palestine, or Western Sahara, wherever people were in struggle for freedom and self-determination, we could count on Roland to be there. We could count on Monique to be there. They were giants in so many ways, influencing future generations through their thinking and their writings.
This was especially true in their embrace of the UN Charter, which is in so many ways a revolutionary document, and especially their continual reminder that the Charter starts by proclaiming: “We the peoples of the United Nations.” Roland’s constant reminder that we needed to place the people, not governments, at the heart of the Charter. The Charter creates the rights to peace and development; economic, social and cultural rights; and civil and political rights. It is the peoples of the world who must enforce the Charter.
We are the organization that upholds this vision of the Charter. It is for this reason it is fitting and proper that we have named our developing academy the “Monique and Roland Weyl Peoples; Academy of International Law.”
I will remember Roland and Monique always. I cannot find the words to describe their impact on me. The years I worked closely with Roland, in planning conferences, peoples’ tribunals such as on Agent Orange, and the Paris Congress in 2005, will be warmly remembered by me. Rest in Power Comrade Roland Weyl. Rest in Power Comrade Monique Weyl. Tribute to Monique and Roland Weyl