Senior Legal Officer, P5

United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials
  • Location
    Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Oct 25

Position description

Org. Setting and Reporting

Under the applicable law, and in accordance with the terms of the Agreement between the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) has jurisdiction to try senior leaders and those who were most responsible for the crimes and serious violations of Cambodian penal law, international humanitarian law and custom, and international conventions recognized by Cambodia, during the period of the Khmer Rouge regime from 17 April 1975 to 6 January 1979. 

While the ECCC is established as a national court, the Royal Government of Cambodia sought the technical assistance of the United Nations in operating the court. In Resolution A/57/228 and A/57/228B, the General Assembly approved the involvement of the United Nations and endorsed the agreement outlining the arrangements between the two parties. The United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT) was established in 2005 to provide on-going technical, operational and logistical support to the Royal Government of Cambodia in all aspect of the Court's operations. 

To learn more about UNAKRT, please visit our website:

This position is located in the Supreme Court Chamber. The incumbent reports to the International Judges of the Supreme Court Chamber.


Under the direct supervision of the International Judges of the Supreme Court Chamber, the incumbent is required to perform the following functions:

• Act as senior legal adviser to the SCC coordinating research and analysis on the most complex and sensitive legal issues to ensure legality, consistency and transparency in the application of law, in particular in the area international criminal law, human rights law and comparative criminal law; 
• Draft and/or assign drafting of decisions briefs and other legal documents to SCC Legal Officers, and review all such drafts for consistency, quality and timeliness of output; 
• Monitor and advise upon the development and efficiency of proceedings; 
• Keep abreast of the developments in the relevant law and inform SCC Judges, Legal Officers, and staff on a frequent basis of such developments; 
• Attend Plenary sessions at the invitation of the SCC Judges, and assist in the preparation and presentation of reports to the Plenary; 
• As requested by the SCC Judges, provide advice and support to judicial working groups and committees, including the Rules and Procedure Committee and the Judicial Administration Committee. 

Administration and Coordination 
• Prepare timely and accurate administrative and budgetary reports and submissions; 
• Propose adoption and follow up implementation of policies and practice directions involving the SCC; 
• Ensure that the SCC Judges are promptly informed of all pertinent developments at the ECCC; 
• Identify and implement specific expertise and best practices with the SCC; 
• Act as the focal point for communications among the SCC Judges and with the parties to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of the proceedings; 
• Act as a focal point for the SCC in its relations with the Office of Administration, and other relevant internal and external agencies to ensure that effective working relationships are established and maintained, and that the SCC’s interests are vigorously represented. 

Staff Management 
• Coordinate and provide overall supervision of the work of the SCC Legal Officers and staff, including recruitment and preparation of performance appraisals; 
• Facilitate participation of SCC Judges, Legal Officers, and staff in outreach and legacy events.


Core Competencies: 

Professionalism: Expert and in-depth knowledge of criminal law, international criminal law, international humanitarian law, and international human rights law. Excellent knowledge of, and ability to apply, legal principles, concepts, procedures and terminology for review, examination, and processing of a range of legal documents. Ability to come up with solution in view of resolving problems arising in criminal litigation. Knowledge of various legal research sources, including electronic, and ability to conduct research and analyze information on a wide range of legal issues. In-depth knowledge of the civil law and common law legal systems and principles. Ability to interpret and apply legislative instruments, develop and present results, recommendations, and opinions clearly and concisely. Expert ability to draft legal papers and briefs, and work under pressure. Ability to apply good legal judgment in the context of assignments given. 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. 

Planning and 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. 

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.

Managerial competencies:

Managing Performance: Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority; makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills; monitors progress against milestones and deadlines; regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff; encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative; actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff; appraises performance fairly. 

Judgement/Decision-making: Identifies the key issues in a complex situation, and comes to the heart of the problem quickly; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the Organization; proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information; checks assumptions against facts; determines the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.


Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in law, preferably with a focus on international criminal law, international humanitarian law, and/or international human rights law. A relevant first-level university degree in the above fields in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

Minimum of ten (10) years of progressively responsible experience in law, including legal analysis, research and writing, of which at least five (5) years are in litigation or as a law clerk or legal officer in the area of criminal or human rights law. 

Experience in the appeals chamber of an international criminal court is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French is desirable. Knowledge of Khmer is an asset.


Qualified applicants may be evaluated through a competency-based interview and/or other assessment methods.

Special Notice

Appointment against this position is limited to the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT). Issuance of appointment is contingent upon availability of funds and extension of mandate. The initial appointment will be for a period of one year; an extension is subject to the extension of the mandate of UNAKRT, the availability of funding and/or individual performance. 

The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. (Charter of the United Nations - Chapter 3, article 8). The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.


United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation or sexual abuse, or crimes other than minor traffic offences, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

Application instructions

Please be sure to indicate that you saw this position on

follow us on Twitter