The government has nominated an international law scholar for appointment to the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb Amina Mohamed nominated the Loyola University, Chicago law Professor James Thuo Gathii.
The foreign secretary herself recently ran for the WTO director general position against the eventual winner Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo of Brazil, amongst other candidates.
The Appellate Body is a standing organ of WTO composed of seven persons that hears appeals from reports issued by panels in disputes brought by WTO Members. The Appellate Body was established in 1995 under Article 17 of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes at WTO.
Prof Gathii, who holds the Wing-Tat Lee Chair in International Law, will now have to appear before the selection committee of the WTO for interviews.
“Gathii is among the most influential and well-recognized international trade scholar from Africa. His distinguished record of scholarship, teaching, and practice in the fields of international law, international trade, human rights, and other subjects has made a lasting impact on law and policy not only in Kenya, but across Africa and the globe,” the cabinet secretary said in a statement.
A widely respected scholar and author and a member of the Global Faculty of the Arusha-based Trade Policy Training Institute in Africa, (Trapca), Prof Gathii in his 2011 book African Regional Trade Agreements as Legal Regimes wrote on the relationship between the African regional trade agreements and the WTO legal system
He also authored War, Commerce and International Law in 2010 in which he examined the historical contexts in which rules of private international law were shaped by war and commerce.
“In addition to his extraordinary contributions to international legal education, Gathii brings a unique body of legal expertise to several important intergovernmental organizations. He serves as an independent expert on the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights Working Group on Extractive Industries, the Environment and Human Rights,” Amb Mohamed said in the statement.
He was instrumental in the design of Trapca’s international trade law graduate level course.
“In sum, Professor Gathii possesses the outstanding leadership and superior qualifications required to serve on the Appellate Body, including the requisite experience, judgment, and stature,” the statement added.
Members of the Appellate Body are appointed by the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) to serve for four-year terms, with the possibility of being reappointed once.