LEGACY OF PROFESSOR DR. B.M. TELDERS (1903-1945)
The Telders International Law Moot Court Competition is named after Professor dr. Benjamin Marius Telders, who first became a professor of international law at Leiden University in 1931. Telders was extremely interested in why and how law operated. He considered international law to be a unique study and challenge, since it was— and in many respects still is— undefined and interwoven with history and politics. Professor Telders was respected for his sharp mind and frequently had the honour to represent his country, The Netherlands, before the Permanent Court of International Justice, predecessor of the International Court of Justice. His interests and activities were not, however, limited to international law. Professor Telders was a man who enjoyed life to the full. He spent his time doing various other activities as playing the piano, editing a literary magazine and leading a political party. These other activities complemented his duties as a professor and a lawyer.
His approach to law was a practical one. Problems were meant to be solved, but not in contravention with important legal principles such as the rule of law and civil society. Professor Telders stood and fought for those principles even in the most difficult of times during the Second World War. Even being imprisoned for four and a half years did not break him morally or mentally, but made him more determined. He continued to write about international law, using a small pencil and match sticks. His fellow prisoners had great respect for his ability to put moral guidance and leadership into practice. Professor Telders died in the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen in April 1945.
Two years later, in 1947, former students of Professor Telders founded the Telders International Law Students Debating Society (Telders Dispuut) in commemoration of this great man. The first Telders International Law Moot Court Competition was organised in 1977 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Telders Debating Society.
Now, 33 years later after the first competition, the Telders Moot Court continues to maintain and live up to the legacy of the learned professor of international law.