Relatives of the disappeared in Mauritania_UN_OCHA

REDRESS is seeking a Legal Advisor for a project on Enforced Disappearance in Africa

  1. REDRESS is an international human rights organisation based in London and The Hague that represents victims of torture to obtain justice and reparation. We bring legal cases on behalf of individual victims of torture, and advocate for better laws to provide effective reparations. Our cases respond to torture as an individual crime in national and international law, and as a human rights violation with state responsibility. We apply our expertise in torture, reparation, and the rights of victims to national and international courts. Through our victim-centred strategic litigation we are able to have an impact beyond the individual case to address the root causes of torture and to challenge impunity. We conduct research and advocacy to identify the changes in law, policy and practice that are necessary. We work collaboratively with international and national organisations and grassroots victims’ groups.
  2. REDRESS has a longstanding interest in the progressive development of the ICC as an institution with the capacity to deliver justice for victims of international crimes, with a focus on victims’ rights, including participation, protection, legal representation, and reparation. We intervene directly before the Court, and engage with the Registry and the Trust Fund for Victims to progress their policies and implement reparations for victims. We support domestic war crimes trials under the principle of complementarity. We coordinate the Victims’ Rights Working Group, an informal global network of experts and advocates working to promote justice for victims at the ICC, operating under the auspices of the NGO Coalition for the ICC.

Enforced Disappearance in Africa

  1. REDRESS will be leading a three-year project to seek legal accountability for enforced disappearance in Africa through strategic litigation and to develop regional standards. The project will focus on four countries in Africa: Algeria, Libya, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.
  2. The project adopts a human rights-based and victim-centred approach to challenge the problem of enforced disappearance (ED) in Africa by developing African standards for the prevention of ED while empowering the families of victims of ED to pursue accountability. The project will engage the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the relevant national authorities with the power to introduce change. The project targets a specific continent, with impacts in north Africa (Libya, Algeria), eastern Africa (Sudan), southern Africa (Zimbabwe) and west Africa (through events in The Gambia) on behalf of some of the most vulnerable and marginalized people, whom the authorities are prepared to literally disappear, without fear of consequence. The action will explore cross-cutting areas, such as ED in the context of migration routes (Sudan, Libya), opposition activists and rights defenders (all partners), security and conflict-related disappearances (with ethnic and religious minorities targeted) and the long- term disappeared (Algeria and Libya). The project will identify best practice (empowering families to be advocates in their own cause) and introduce innovations (developing an evaluation framework for victim-led strategic litigation of ED).
  3. The project will be a collaboration with four partner organisations: Collectif des Families de Disparu(e)s en Algerie, Lawyers for Justice in Libya, the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies, and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
  4. REDRESS will recruit a lawyer on a three-year fixed contract to manage the project.

Position Profile: Legal Advisor – Enforced Disappearance in Africa

  1. Reporting to the Head of Law, the Legal Advisor will be required to:
  • Lead REDRESS’ work relating to the Enforced Disappearance in Africa project, promoting the rights and interests of victims to obtain justice and reparation for the harm they have suffered.
  • Working with the project partners, deliver the activities under the project, including:
    • Accountability. Design and deliver litigation workshops on strategic litigation against enforced disappearance; support families to engage in strategic litigation against ED; undertake advocacy to national governments;
    • Prevention. Support the development of African Commission guidelines on ED; support national advocacy to ratify the Convention on Enforced Disappearances, and to address ED; develop and manage communications campaigns in support of the project.
  • Oversee the project through effective project management, financial management, and reporting.
  • Liaise with project partners, consultants, and other NGOs working on ED.


  1. The Legal Advisor is expected to contribute to the work of REDRESS as follows:
  • Legal Advice and Representation. Conduct strategic litigation on behalf of clients of REDRESS, through (where necessary) client care, legal and factual research, questioning witnesses, evidential analysis, drafting of submissions, and court-room advocacy.
  • Legal Advocacy. Conduct policy analysis and advocacy in support of the strategic objectives of REDRESS. Work with partners to advocate for legal and institutional reforms or to address systemic challenges. Draft reports, prepare submissions, and advocate to relevant stakeholders in national, regional, and international fora.
  • Professional Responsibility. Maintain the highest ethical standards, including for direct representation of clients, and case management.
  • Project Management. Develop, oversee, and deliver innovative and effective projects that further the strategic objectives of the organization. Contribute to the drafting of funding proposals, prepare and oversee budgets, and report on projects to donors and the board.
  • Work collaboratively with other legal and programme staff.
  • Design and deliver training programs for specific projects where needed.
  • Foster relations with existing and potential new partners and counterparts around the world on ongoing litigation, advocacy, training, and policy initiatives.
  • Representing REDRESS. Contribute to the wider needs of the organization, including communicating REDRESS’ work to a wide array of audiences.
  1. The Legal Advisor is also expected to carry out such further duties as may reasonably be requested from time to time by REDRESS.

Ideal Professional Background

10. The ideal candidate will need to have the following experience.

  • Experience working with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights;
  • Experience at litigation in Africa;
  • At least five years relevant experience.
  • Advanced degree specialised in international law or human rights law, or equivalent experience.
  • Licensed to practice law through bar membership or the equivalent.
  • Proficiency in international law and human rights, with knowledge of international criminal law, the law of torture, enforced disappearance, the rights of victims, or reparations.
  • Demonstrated excellence in legal drafting and editing; demonstrated competence in non-legal drafting.
  • Experience developing, budgeting, and implementing legal projects involving international partners.
  • Experience working with NGOs and other stakeholders in developing countries, including working overseas.
  • Experience in public speaking to a variety of audiences.
  • Experience of managing junior staff and volunteers.
  • Fluency in written and oral English, with a second language highly desirable, in particular French or Arabic.

The following experience is desirable:

  • Experience in human rights litigation at a national, regional, or international level.
  • Experience working in a civil law system.
  • Experience in conducting advocacy at a national, regional, or international level.
  • Experience in report writing with prior publication experience.

Personal Attributes

  • Comfortable working with victims of human rights abuse with a range of special needs.
  • Comfortable to work with a wide range of personalities;
  • Energetic, resourceful, good strategic thinker but also willing and ready to take a hands-on role;
  • Highly efficient and organised, with an ability to multi-task;
  • Able to understand and support the aims, objectives and values of REDRESS and reflect them in all aspects of work;
  • Able to think and work strategically, creatively, and under pressure.
  • Able to work as part of a team as well as on own initiative.
  • Willing to undertake frequent travel, including to countries with a history of systematic and severe human rights abuses.

Reporting Relationships

  1. The Legal Advisor will report to the Head of Law under the overall supervision of the Director. They are expected to manage junior staff members and volunteers as appropriate.

Terms of Employment

12. This is a full-time position, for a three-year contract. The position is based at the REDRESS office in London. The salary is commensurate with experience, and there is a three-month probationary period. There are generous holiday benefits, with a 10% pension contribution after successful completion of the probation. The recruitment of the position is subject to final confirmation of funding.

13. The closing date for applications is Thursday 6 December 2018.

14. First round interviews will take place on Thursday 13 December 2018.

15. Final interviews will take place on Wednesday 19 December 2018.

How to Apply

Please send to [email protected]: A cover letter explaining your interest in REDRESS and your qualifications for the role, a Curriculum vitae, the names and contact details of two references (these will only be approached in final short-listing process).

Deadline: Thursday 6 December 2018.

Photo: Families of victims of 1990s military killings and disappearances in Mauritania (© UN-OCHA).