3 October 2008

Secretary-General Appoints Renaud Sorieul as Director, International Trade Law Division, United Nations Office of Legal Affairs and Secretary of UNCITRAL

VIENNA, 3 October (UN Information Service) -- United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, The Legal Counsel Patricia O'Brien is pleased to announce the appointment of Renaud Sorieul as the Director of the International Trade Law Division of the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs. Mr. Sorieul succeeds Mr. Jernej Sekolec, who retired from the service of the United Nations on 31 July 2008.

The International Trade Law Division functions as the substantive Secretariat of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). Mr. Sorieul becomes the eighth Secretary of UNCITRAL since the Commission was established by the General Assembly in 1966. Mr. Sorieul took up his duties on 1 October 2008.

Since he joined the UNCITRAL Secretariat in 1989, Mr. Sorieul was actively involved in the UNCITRAL Working Group on International Payments, which prepared the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Credit Transfers. He then served as Secretary of the UNCITRAL Working Group on Electronic Commerce, which drafted the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce and the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Signatures. Since 2002, he was the Secretary of the UNCITRAL Working Group on Arbitration and Conciliation and since 1 February 2005 he was the Principal Legal Officer, Head of the Legislative Branch of the International Trade Law Division, in charge of supervising the Secretariat support to the standard-making activities of UNCITRAL.

A French national, Mr. Sorieul holds degrees in private law from the University of Paris (Paris II).  He is also a graduate of the Institut d'études politiques de Paris and the École Nationale de la Magistrature. A member of the French judiciary since 1981, he served as a magistrate in first-degree law courts (1981-1985), and was subsequently appointed a member of the International Criminal Law Division at the Ministry of Justice (1985-1987). He was then seconded to serve as Head of the Legal Office of the Directorate-General of Energy and Mines at the Ministry of Industry (1987-1989). He is married with three children.

* *** *

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. Its mandate is to remove legal obstacles to international trade by progressively modernizing and harmonizing trade law. It prepares legal texts in a number of key areas such as international commercial dispute settlement, electronic commerce, insolvency, international payments, sale of goods, transport law, procurement and infrastructure development. UNCITRAL also provides technical assistance to law reform activities, including assisting Member States to review and assess their law reform needs and to draft the legislation required to implement UNCITRAL texts. The UNCITRAL Secretariat is located in Vienna and maintains a website at www.uncitral.org