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14 Nov 2020

Criminal Law Advisor

Job Description

Job Family
Legal Affairs

Job Opening Number
20-Legal Affairs-OHCHR-144605-J-Juba (A)

Staffing Exercise

Org. Setting and Reporting

This temporary position is located in the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division (FOTCD) at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Juba, under the overall supervision of the Coordinator of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.


Within delegated authority, the International Criminal Law Advisor will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Advises the Commission on issues regarding the content and application of international human rights, international humanitarian law and international criminal law and conducts legal research, prepares opinions regarding the application of international human rights, humanitarian and criminal law and liaises with key transitional justice actors in Juba.
  • Advises the team on matters related to the applicable legal framework;
  • Analyses the existing pertinent documentation and identifies the legal standards applicable to the human rights situation to investigate, including by integrating gender analysis;
  • Conducts legal analysis and research on various legal matters pertaining to the investigations;
  • Provides advice on different legal issues, including on gender implications, and assists in drafting legal opinions, memoranda and other briefing documents;
  • Coordinates closely with the Gender Advisor and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Investigator to analyse documents already collected and identify gaps, including on gender-relevant information; to ensure that findings on sexual and gender-based violence are effectively reflected in the analysis, and to ensure gender sensitive analysis is consistent throughout the report;
  • Ensures legal accuracy in drafting of different documents, including reports, submissions, press releases etc. prepared by the team;
  • Suggests legal qualifications of gathered information;
  • Defines trends and patterns of human rights violations and abuses, and violations of international criminal law and international humanitarian law;
  • Contributes to the production of an investigation report especially regarding the legal qualification of facts and determine responsibilities and, where possible, identifies those responsible;
  • Drafts the legal section of the Commission’s final report and other legal opinions as relevant based on the interviews and collected information, including by integrating gender-related findings;
  • Advises the coordinator on the legal findings and discusses the possible recommendations in particular, on accountability measures;
  • Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work;
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


Professionalism: Knowledge of international legal procedures and instruments, including criminal law, both substantive and procedural. Ability to apply legal expertise to analyzing a diverse range of complex and unusual legal issues and problems and in developing innovative and creative solutions in prosecuting complex criminal cases. Strong analytical skills and ability to conduct comprehensive legal research on a range of issues, including those of a unique and/or complex nature; proficiency in legal writing and expression and ability to prepare legal briefs, opinions, indictments or legal submissions/motions, and a variety of legal instruments and related documents. Ability to lead and cross-examine witnesses and make substantial legal arguments before Chambers of judges, or if required to take responsibility for the prosecution of criminal trials. Discretion and sound judgment in applying legal expertise to sensitive, complex legal issues. Strong negotiating skills and ability to influence others to reach agreement. Ability to work to tight deadlines and handle multiple concurrent projects/cases. Knowledge of contemporary international relations and of UN system, organization and interrelationships. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.

Planning & Organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in law, political science, international relations, social sciences or related field. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of seven years of progressively responsible work experience in human rights, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law is required.
  • At least two years of experience in providing legal analysis to human rights investigative bodies or tribunals is required.
  • At least two years of experience in investigations of international criminal law violations with human rights investigative bodies or international tribunals is desirable.
  • Experience working in or on South Sudan is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluency English is required.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview.

Special Notice


  • If the selected candidate is a staff member from the United Nations Secretariat, the selection will be administered as a temporary assignment.
  • While this temporary assignment may provide the successful applicant with an opportunity to gain new work experience, the selection for this position is for a limited period and has no bearing on the future incumbency of the post.
  • Subject to the funding source of the position, the eligibility for this temporary job opening may be limited to candidates based at the duty station.
  • This temporary job opening may be limited to “internal candidates,” who have been recruited through a competitive examination administered according to staff rule 4.16 or staff selection process including the review of a central review body established according to staff rule 4.15.
  • Staff members of the United Nations common system organizations who will reach the mandatory age of separation or retirement within the duration of the current temporary need period are not eligible to apply.Submitting an application or selection for the current temporary job opening does not delay or increase the mandatory age of separation.
  • Retirees above the mandatory age of separation who wish to be considered for the current temporary job opening must indicate the reason for their last separation as “retirement.” Such retirees shall not be employed by the Organization, unless (a) the operational requirements of the Organization cannot be met by staff members who are qualified and available to perform the required functions; and (b) the proposed employment would not adversely affect the career development or redeployment opportunities of other staff members and represents both a cost-effective and operationally sound solution to meet the needs of the service.

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