The following article was published in the April 2022 special issue of the International Review of Contemporary Law, the journal of the IADL.
The first time I met Roland was about 20 years ago. Since then, I have met him at various events. When I met him, he was then in his eighties and politically active, as much as very few of us are. But the most impressive point for me was his clear mind and the accuracy of his remarks.
I can’t recall even one time I disagreed with his remarks. My feeling was that Roland and Monique were bearers of an important political tradition based on four pillars: 1) the communist resistance against fascism; 2) the anti-colonial struggle; 3) the class struggle inside France and 4) the current fight of the postcolonial countries for sovereignty and independent development.
There is a lot to remember about the Weyl couple. But if I want to limit it only to one, it was their insistence ton defending international law: First, the UN Charter, which reflects the achievements of the people against imperialism, colonialism and economic exploitation and still remains the only universally binding document of international law.
For me, it was not always easy to understand their insistence. It was difficult to avoid the influence of the rhetoric against the United Nations and the UN Charter – about its alleged incapacity or its incompetence. The problem is that those critics don’t come just from the Western powers or from the right-wing. Sometimes they come from the European left as well, and other times, from people from weak nations who feel that nobody supports them. It is not always easy to understand what Roland was able to see behind the anti-UN rhetoric or to understand that the Western powers consider the UN and the Charter as an obstacle to their neocolonial, neoliberal politics.
Finally, it was the Biden administration, through the words of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, that justified Roland’s insistence on the defense of the UN Charter. This past year, we have heard from U.S. leaders a clear denial of international law, — namely, the UN Charter — as the binding legal framework for international relations. They speak about “rules based-international relations,” that is, the rules which the West dictates to every specific international dispute, totally removed from international law.
Even after their deaths, Roland and Monique have proved that they had correctly read the trend in the international arena. For such reasons and for so many others, they belong to those intellectuals who will be always extremely necessary for the poor social strata and for the poor nations as well. And for that reason, we will remember them.