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Lawyers sought for Cambodian court

The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s Special Expert on United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials is seeking lawyers who are willing to undertake a secondment at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in Phnom Penh. 

The secondments are available at the Office of the International Co-Investigating Judge and Office of the Co-Prosecutors (OCP) and would allow law firms to fulfil their pro bono responsibilities, give their lawyers international criminal law experience and contribute to the advancement of international criminal law.

Opportunities at the Office of the International Investigating Judge

International Co-Investigating Judge Mark Harmon has a long defence and prosecutorial career in the United States, including the U.S. Justice Department, as well as 18 years as a lead trial prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He has been the International Co-Investigating Judge at the ECCC since October 2012. He is investigating four suspects in two cases and requires additional legal assistance immediately in the following categories:

  1. A criminal investigator with a solid background and experience in criminal investigations.  This individual need not be a lawyer but should be well versed in the legal requirements for professional criminal investigations.  Fluency in Khmer would be extremely useful, as would fluency in French, but neither is required. 
  1. A lawyer with "procedural" skills who can research and draft appeals motions and legal decisions rapidly and with great skill.
  1. A lawyer with some investigative experience who can work well with a team of lawyers and investigators relating to one of the suspects.

Judge Harmon must complete his investigative work by the end of 2014 – individuals should only apply if they are able to begin by 30 June 2014.

Opportunities at the OCP

The International Co-Prosecutor, Nicholas Koumjian, and International Deputy Co-Prosecutor, William Smith, are seeking several lawyers for work on Cases 02, 03 and 04.  Prosecutor Koumjian is an American and held prosecutorial positions with several of the international war crimes tribunals before arriving at the ECCC last year.  Deputy Co Prosecutor Smith, an Australian, held a prosecutorial position at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia before arriving at the ECCC when the Court was created.  The OCP has a small, hardworking team that will be extremely busy with a complicated appeal (including fair trial issues, sui generis severance issues and modes of liability, evidence, use of written statements, etc.), while also preparing for its biggest case yet (Case 02/Phase 02).  The team is also preparing for closing submissions on Cases 03 and 04.   Applicants would be required for at least six months and should plan to arrive in Phnom Penh no later than September 2014.

Secondees must be financially supported by their employer, including salary, benefits, travel, and living expenses. The ECCC is not in a position to assist with financing. Individuals interested in applying must be prepared to live in Phnom Penh and be comfortable living and working in a foreign environment.

Attached are the UN's rules regarding secondments. These rules apply to both governments and private institutions seconding individuals to the United Nations. The secondment would be to the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials, and the relevant office above.

Any law firm willing to second a lawyer or investigator should contact Ambassador David Scheffer (see contact details below) as soon as possible, attaching the individual's CV for forwarding to the relevant official (either Judge Harmon or Co-Prosecutor Koumjian and Deputy Co-Prosecutor Smith) for immediate consideration.


Amb. David Scheffer

U.N. Secretary-General's Special Expert on United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials

Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law

Director, Center for International Human Rights

Northwestern University School of Law

375 East Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611

Email: [email protected]