The following article was published in the April 2022 special issue of the International Review of Contemporary Law, the journal of the IADL.
Dear Comrades and Friends,
The Portuguese Association of Democratic Lawyers (APJD), which is honoured to have had among its most prominent colleagues and friends, Roland and Monique Weyl, hereby wishes to join in the tributes that are being paid to these two brilliant personalities. We wish to underscore and celebrate the content of their very long life: a permanent struggle for democracy and for human rights.
Maître Weyl was always a prominent and politically active citizen: as a founding and leading member of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers; as a defending lawyer, both in Court and in other fora, for so many people and organizations that craved justice; as the author of a vast and multi-faceted bibliography on legal and social issues; as a researcher and nurturer of Law, of the «bon droit» (as stated in one of his books, “il y a du bon droit et du mauvais droit” [there is a good Law and a bad Law]; and “obtenir la proclamation d’ un bon droit est donc un combat, et aussi qu’ il ne reste pas sur le papier mais soit apliqué” [to obtain the proclamation of a good Law is therefore a struggle, as is striving to ensure that it does not remain on paper, but is applied]); in short, as a steadfast citizen and as a lawyer who was unflinchingly committed to the ideals of emancipation, and as a recognized writer – a great maître à penser (et à agir).
We cannot forget the support that Maître Weyl gave to the Portuguese political prisoners and exiled people, in the dark days of the Salazar dictatorship. His support included his presence in Portugal in 1962, witnessing the trial of the Communist leader Octávio Pato, in the Lisbon Plenary Court, and his report on that event which was presented to the “Conférence des pays d’ Europe Occidental pour l’ amnistie aux emprisonnés et exilés politiques portugais” [Conference of Western European countries for amnesty for the Portuguese political prisoners and exiled people], which was held in Paris, on December 15 and 16, 1962. In this report, Maître Weyl provided a rigorous description of the events that took place during that trial, in which – in his own words – the defense lawyers “ne sont pas libres de plaider, ils n’ ont aucun moyen et en réalité ils on été en ma présence, à quatre reprises, menacés eux-mêmes d’ être incarcerés” [are not free to plea, have no resources and were, in fact, in my presence and on four separate occasions, themselves threatened with incarceration].
We are aware that the long life of Maître Weyl was never simply committed to struggles “on paper,” but rather consistent practical efforts, imbued with the profound and permanent goal of changing the world which is laden with imperfection and social injustice.
And it is for all of these things — for this lifetime spent as brave and persistent fighters, that we hail Roland and Monique, and express our satisfaction at being able to include them among our best and most enlightened comrades.
We remember them, in Lisbon, this city which Maître Weyl knew so well, and which he visited on several occasions. He was there in 1962, for the reasons above stated, and attended events of IADL and APJD. He also visited shortly after April 25, 1974, when he came in the company of his wife, also a committed champion in the struggle, Maître Monique Weyl, to feel the promising and exciting times of the Carnation Revolution.
These two citizens, so exemplary of critical reasoning and militant action, will never die. They remain with us, as keen agents of history. Through his great works, Roland “freed himself from the law of death” (as our epic poet Luís de Camões said).
Madalena Marques dos Santos