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WTO NEWS: 1995 PRESS RELEASES

PRESS/37
3 December 1995

Swearing-in ceremony of Appellate Body Members completes institutional structure of WTO - says Director-General R. Ruggiero

“The official appointment of these seven highly-distinguished men to serve as the guardians of the WTO dispute settlement system marks the final step in building the new institutional structure of the WTO,” said Mr Renato Ruggiero, Director-General of the WTO, this morning (13 December) at the swearing-in ceremony of the Appellate Body members at the WTO Headquarters in Geneva.

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"With an Appellate Body made up of these internationally-respected wise men, we can be confident that the preservation of the rules-based system we negotiated in the Uruguay Round will be in the best hands."

The Appellate Body members solemnly declared to perform their duties "honourably, independently, impartially and conscientiously" and to "avoid direct or indirect conflicts of interests" and to "respect the confidentiality of proceedings of the Appellate Body."

After the ceremony, the Appellate Body members began intensive discussions to prepare themselves for their duties and to develop working procedures for the Body.

Later in the day, at a lunch in their honour, Mr Ruggiero said: "As the highest judicial authority in the WTO dispute settlement system, it is extremely important that the Appellate Body be a completely independent and impartial judicial body, free from all political influence. This is why you have been given an independent secretariat, separate from the Secretariat of the WTO. Maintaining and preserving your independence is absolutely fundamental to the credibility and integrity of the dispute settlement system and of the WTO itself."

Note to editors:

WTO Press Release No: 32, dated 29 November 1995, announced the appointments together with brief biographical details of the Appellate Body members. They are:

Mr James Bacchus of the United States

Mr Christopher Beeby of New Zealand

Professor Claus-Dieter Ehlermann

of Germany

Dr Said El-Naggar of Egypt

Justice Florentino Feliciano of the Philippines

Mr Julio Lacarte Muro of Uruguay

Professor Mitsuo Matsushita of Japan