Date: 26 Jul 2007

The Decisional Juridical Discourse of the Appellate Body of the WTO: Among Treaties and Dictionaries as Referents

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Abstract

This present paper is devoted to the analysis of the decisional juridical discourses of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization. For this end, we decided to develop the research around two poles which shall be approached in an interweaving manner: the first concerns an examination of the methods of interpretation adopted by the Appellate Body and the second, which is a consequence of the former, devotes itself to the problem derived from the interpretation of authentic international treaties in more than one language. In the light of these two approaches we can verify that the interpretation of the Appellate Body is highly influenced by the search for the purpose of the text and the construction of the juridical discourse in question is made with reference to the linguistic system analyzed as a dictionary. It was established, that the Appellate Body carries out a dictionary interpretation with a tendency, even incipient, to consider the linguistic versions of the World Trade Organization Agreements. Finally, the task is structured having as a backdrop two interdependent concepts which should not be neglected in an analysis of international juridical discourses. They are the following: ‹juridical culture’ and ‹language’. Both will be dealt with from a semiotic perspective since the central element of our study – and of the intersection between these two concepts – is the linguistic sign.

PhD in International Law in the Law School of the University of São Paulo (USP), BRAZIL. This paper is based on the Ph.D. thesis entitled “The decisional juridical discourse of the World Trade Organization: a semiotic analysis of the Appellate Body reports”. This thesis was developed under the supervision of Professor Luiz Olavo Baptista, in the Law School of the University of São Paulo, Brazil (from 2002 to 2005) and with the support of the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund.