Job Opportunity with the Open Justice Society Institute – Cambodia


Monitor – Khmer Rouge Trials - Based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Project Description

Open Society Justice Initiative (“Justice Initiative”) has undertaken capacity building, training, advocacy, monitoring, and outreach, and other work in relation to the Extraordinary Chambers for the period of Democratic Kampuchea process since 2005.

Police, prosecutorial and judicial abuses in Cambodia have periodically drawn strong expressions of concern from the international community in the context of efforts to strengthen the rule of law in the country. Nonetheless, the main focus of international attention in recent years has become the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts in Cambodia (ECCC) to prosecute Khmer Rouge (KR) leaders for massive crimes committed under their rule from 1975 to 1979. Following a 2003 agreement between the United Nations and the Royal Government of Cambodia, a trial process for senior leaders and those most responsible for the crimes of the Khmer Rouge era has been established.

The atrocities that were committed in Cambodia during the period of Democratic Kampuchea represent one of the great unredressed crimes of the 20th century, and a source of ongoing trauma to Cambodian people and society. The ECCC was established in the courts of Cambodia to try those most responsible for those crimes represent a crucial element in the process of providing redress and assisting Cambodia in addressing the legacy of these crimes. At the same time, the Cambodian government and the officials of the ECCC are undertaking this enormously important task with few resources and in a short time frame, even as the ECCC presents itself as but one part of the larger problem of justice and accountability in Cambodia. These factors make coordination, monitoring, and high-quality input at every stage important.

To this end, the Justice Initiative, is engaged in work to strengthen the ECCC and to increase its potential for contributing productively to the longer-term aim sought by Cambodians, namely, the development of a culture of accountability and the rule of law in their country. We have been the sole full time monitor of the ECCC and court officials, donors, and the NGO community have indicated that our monitoring role is indispensable to ensuring the integrity of the trial process.

Project Background

Since 2003, the Open Society Justice Initiative has been present on the ground in Cambodia to monitor developments, raise local and international awareness about the court, and provide technical assistance in the lead-up to the court’s opening. After long delays and troubled negotiations, the court, imperfect as it is, officially began operations in July 2006. Five individuals were subsequently arrested, the first trial was completed in November 2009, and the Judgment and Sentence handed down on July 26, 2010. Approximately thirty thousand people traveled to the court to witness some part of the proceedings, and countless more have tuned into radio and TV feeds. There is clearly a great interest among many Cambodians in the work of the ECCC.

This impressive progress, however, is set against a backdrop of deep administrative and operational problems. In 2007, the Justice Initiative brought to light serious allegations of corruption at the court. It has been a vocal advocate for much needed changes, including protections for whistleblowers. The court also suffers from a lack of credibility because of evidence of political interference in decisions about who will be prosecuted. Outreach efforts to the Cambodian people, while improving, have been lacking. Limited transparency about the work of the court is a problem. Journalists wanting to report on the court’s work have had difficulty getting information from the court or accessing what they need to cover its proceedings. The court continues to search for additional funds from the international community to finish its work, which is expected to last several more years.

By monitoring and performing advocacy around these and related issues, the Justice Initiative hopes to contribute to the success of the court in meeting its goals.


Based in Phnom Penh and reporting to the Senior Legal Officer, International Justice, the Monitor–Khmer Rouge Trials performs the following tasks:

1. Closely monitors the pretrial, trial, and appeals processes and provides regular (at least weekly) reports on the process and progress of the KR trials to the Justice Initiative, and provide regular reports for the public at large. As appropriate, prepares confidential reports for the UN, ECCC donors or the court itself;

2. Liaises with all organs of the Tribunal to assess needs that the Justice Initiative or others could fulfill to help ensure the Tribunal fulfills its mandate;

3. Liaises with, and provides accurate information to, NGOs, donors, the UN, and journalists monitoring the Tribunal, in Phnom Penh and elsewhere in Cambodia, and occasionally in New York and Washington DC, as required;

4. Writes op-eds or legal commentary on the trials, to educate the public and the international community about its performance, needs, strengths and shortcomings, as appropriate;

5. Writes at least quarterly updates or thematic reports on the ECCC, both for donors and the public;

6. Provides continuous guidance to the Justice Initiative and others, as appropriate, on the integrity of the trial process, with particular attention paid to corruption and independence issues;

7. Performs other supportive efforts as required and mutually agreed;

8. Coordinates with and supervises other Justice Initiative related staff in Cambodia, including providing assistance with Technical Advisory visits and oversees protection issues;

9. Oversees the operations, including financial reporting, and other work of the Phnom Penh office;

10. Engages in advocacy, outreach, and training on the Khmer Rouge Trials as appropriate; and

11. Performs other duties as requested by the Senior Legal Officer or Executive Director.


Experience working in or with other international/hybrid tribunals;

Strong familiarity with criminal law and procedure;

Ability to interact with diplomats, Tribunal officials, NGOs, journalists, and victimized communities in a professional, discreet, diplomatic and tactful manner;

Effective communication skills with all components of the Tribunal, including Registry, Chambers, Prosecution, Defense, and Administration;

Professional journalistic writing and editing experience;

Superb organizational capabilities;

Cultural sensitivity

Fluency in English with excellent written language skills; Khmer language skills a plus but not a requirement;

High level of motivation and ability to work both independently and with others;

Integrity, professional discretion and ability to handle confidential matters.

Salary: Commensurate with experience with full benefits.

Anticipated Start Date: November 1, 2010

To Apply

Please email resume, writing sample and cover letter with salary requirements and contract details of 3 references (preferably previous supervisors) to , including “Monitor – OSJI” in the Subject title.

Application deadline: September 1, 2010.

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