International Justice Program
Multiple Locations Considered
Application Deadline: December 12, 2021

The Opportunity
The International Justice Program champions meaningful justice for victims and survivors of serious international crimes and due process for the accused. We seek to build national and international practice to hold perpetrators to account in trials before courts of law, advance innovative and practical pathways to justice, and urge governments and other actors to ensure no one is above the law. We value the importance of strategic partnerships with colleague groups worldwide to advance the movement for accountability.

We look to the International Criminal Court, other international tribunals, and national courts, whether in the countries where crimes have been committed or through using the principle of universal jurisdiction to carry out fair and impartial trials.

We advocate for effective justice mechanisms and advance innovative and practical pathways to overcome roadblocks to justice, working to build the political momentum and state cooperation to support accountability in the long term.

Our work supports the fair and impartial imposition of international justice for both victims and alleged perpetrators regardless of nationality. We criticize both governments that obstruct international justice and are hypocritical in their approach to it.

Our experience shows justice takes time and faces steep odds. We nurture the relationships and expertise to sustain our work in the long-term, provide leadership, and work together with survivor groups and other partners to bring prospects for justice closer in view.

As the most serious international crimes continue to be committed on a challenging international landscape, criminal accountability is needed now more than ever. HRW is seeking an outstanding professional to head its International Justice Program (IJP). The IJP is composed of a group of experienced activists who are leaders in their own right.

The position involves three main areas of responsibility:
1) leading HRW’s work on international justice, including the ICC;
2) managing a thriving and experienced team within the International Justice Program; and
3) playing a key role in raising funds to support IJP’s work.

Candidate Profile

The successful candidate will be a thoughtful, collaborative, and strategic leader with deep knowledge and experience working on a diverse range of human rights issues related to international justice. The Director will be a persuasive advocate in the field of international justice, and have an impressive track record of driving change, a deep commitment to coalition building and equitable partnerships, and a strategic vision for HRW’s contribution to global justice.

The successful candidate will be able to champion justice work throughout the organization and be able to explain legal concepts in plain language. They will clearly understand and be able to communicate across the organization, in media and to the global public international justice issues and their importance to the protection of human rights.

The Director will be an experienced manager and demonstrate the ability and commitment to foster the safety and resilience of staff, to promote diversity and inclusion, to support sustainability of the organization, to be an effective communicator, to provide appropriate and timely feedback on staff performance, to build consensus with staff around key challenges and new research and advocacy approaches, and to ensure the highest research standards in a culture of learning, trust, teamwork, and collaboration.

The position preferably will be based in any major HRW office, but other locations will be considered. The successful candidate will be expected to travel widely, including internationally (once Covid-19 related restrictions and precautions permit).

Due to Covid-19, many of our global offices are currently closed or operating in reduced capacities. The successful candidate may be required to work remotely in the interim. We recognize that this moment, during the pandemic, is a uniquely difficult time for most people, particularly those with caregiving responsibilities, and we aim to be as flexible and supportive as possible in both the recruitment for and onboarding of this position.

1. Develop a multi-year program strategy for the IJP, in collaboration with relevant staff and stakeholders, in the global international justice movement;
2. Oversee research, reporting, and advocacy for the division; ensuring published materials generate domestic and international pressure to address international justice issues;
3. Communicate regularly with HRW senior managers to ensure the division’s policies and objectives are aligned with the organization’s focus; enhance internal commitment to and engagement in international justice;
4. Liaise effectively with HRW staff around the world to ensure effective coordination of the international justice across program boundaries to maximize impact;
5. Respond to and/or anticipate relevant news events or frame developing news stories relating to international justice;
6. Represent the organization before the international media and advocate with high-level officials from governments, multilateral organizations, and other relevant international and regional institutions;
7. Manage a team of dedicated staff, including performance management, workload and professional development;
8. Promote an inclusive and positive work environment including by soliciting diverse points of views, prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion and stress and resilience efforts, and proactively addressing bias, and discrimination;
9. Monitor well-being of IJP staff as it pertains to stress and resilience and self-care and work collaboratively with IJP staff in addressing the challenges and opportunities they face in their work and the environments where they live;
10. Work closely with the Development Department on fundraising, providing requested information and draft reports to donors in a timely manner, promoting the work of HRW as a whole, and maintain donor relationships while actively cultivating and following up with potential new donors to achieve program-specific fundraising goals;
11. Manage the program’s budget, in cooperation with Finance and other departments, to ensure adequate and timely oversight of resources and ensure that resources are allocated to maximize impact;
12. Support organizational efforts to make HRW an environmentally sustainable organization;
13. Help develop a strong group of human rights groups for partnership and collaboration as well as maintain good working relationships with external partners; and
14. Perform other duties that may be required.


Education: A law degree or qualification and substantial work experience and demonstrated effectiveness in the area of justice and human rights. Field-based experience, particularly working alongside domestic groups, is particularly valued.

Experience: A minimum of 10 years of varied experience in justice work at least some of which has a human rights focus including strategic planning and project development, investigations, reporting, and advocacy, and with at least 5 years in a senior management position, preferably one that involved managing both down and up within an organization or institution. We are eager to hear from candidates who can perform the essential functions of this role even if they do not meet all of our desired qualifications – particularly if they are from backgrounds underrepresented in the justice field.

Related Skills and Knowledge:

1. Extensive knowledge of a wide range of international justice issues, developed through both education and professional experience.
2. Advocacy and research experience with government officials and other actors on international justice issues; ability to defend and explain complex issues and positions to governments and intergovernmental bodies at the highest level.
3. Demonstrated ability to develop strategy and operationalize a vision, including developing operational and budgetary plans.
4. Experience with the media and cultivating relationships with journalists and experience using or managing social media.
5. Excellent oral and written communication skills in English are required; working level proficiency in another language is desirable.
6. Relevant experience with ad hoc international criminal courts and/or the ICC is desirable.
7. Strong interpersonal skills in order to work collaboratively within HRW as well as with local partners, government officials and external media partners.
8. Ability to explain technical international criminal law and ICC concepts to non-technical audiences from a human rights perspective.
9. Demonstrable management experience, including supervising a team of talented professionals in multiple global locations.
10. Capacity to plan and prioritize appropriately and to manage multiple, sometimes competing demands efficiently in a challenging, fast-paced environment is required.
11. Demonstrated awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations.

Salary and Benefits: HRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits. HRW offers a relocation assistance package and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply: Please apply immediately or by December 12, 2021, by visiting our online job board at careers.hrw.org and attaching a cover letter and a resume or CV. No calls or email inquiries, please. Only complete applications will be reviewed and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your application submission, please email recruitment@hrw.org. Due to the large response, application submissions via email will not be accepted and inquiries regarding the status of applications will go unanswered.

Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. We actively seek a diverse applicant pool and encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply. Human Rights Watch does not discriminate on the basis of disability, age, gender identity and expression, national origin, race and ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or criminal record. We welcome all kinds of diversity. Our employees include people who are parents and nonparents, the self-taught and university educated, and from a wide span of socio-economic backgrounds and perspectives on the world. Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer.

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.

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