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Purpose of the post

This post plays a key role in the achievement of the ICRC's and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement's objectives in the field of arms and international humanitarian law (IHL).

Reporting to the Head of the Arms Unit, the incumbent primarily serves as the ICRC’s reference point on explosive weapons in populated areas:  the incumbent coordinates the implementation of the institution’s strategy on explosive weapons in populated areas, a multi-disciplinary, evidence-based initiative that aims to develop legal-policy recommendations on the use these weapons with a view to improving the protection of civilians in populated areas.

Sitting in the Legal Division, the Arms Unit develops and represents the ICRC's legal and policy positions on the use or availability of weapons based on their human costs as observed in the field, and on new technologies of warfare based on their foreseeable effects, with the aim of protecting civilians from the indiscriminate effects of weapons and combatants from unnecessary suffering.

Main responsibilities and tasks

  • Coordinate the implementation of the ICRC’s strategy on Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas, including through a multi-disciplinary working group, and further develop and promote the ICRC’s legal and policy positions on the use of these weapons.  This includes:
    • Support the work of ICRC Operations – chiefly the Protection and Assistance Divisions, and key field delegations – to collect evidence and gain a better understanding of the humanitarian consequences of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
    • Promote the ICRC’s views on the interpretation and application of IHL rules on the conduct of hostilities to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, with government officials, independent experts, and relevant international and non-governmental organisations.
    • With the delegates to the Armed and Security Forces (FAS), engage military officials to obtain information on existing policies and practices of State armed forces and non-States armed groups relevant to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
    • With the military-technical expert, review the technical characteristics of explosive weapons of concern, and integrate an understanding of the foreseeable, design-dependent effects of explosive weapons in populated areas into the overall analysis of the evidence of these weapons’ impacts.
    • Engage in dialogue with government and independent experts on the legal, technical, military and humanitarian issues raised by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, including through the organization of expert meetings.
    • Represent the ICRC’s views in bilateral meetings with government legal advisers, military officials and policy-makers, and in various multilateral forums.
    • Promote the ICRC’s observations and recommendations, including through a public communication strategy and legal-operational (protection) dialogue.
  • Promote adherence to and implementation of legal frameworks applying to explosive remnants of war (ERW), among other assigned topics relating to weapons and IHL.
  • Represent the institution's position and work on arms issues to governments bilaterally and in multilateral diplomatic forums, and to UN agencies, National Societies and civil society;
  • Write internal and external analytical notes, reports, briefing papers and articles on these and other arms topics;
  • Prepare ICRC submissions to international organizations and meetings of States party to the relevant treaties, and speeches for ICRC officials;
  • Organize and/or actively participate in national and regional seminars, and various expert meetings;
  • Develop technical and communication tools for promoting the ICRC's positions, and for understanding relevant IHL rules and the requirements of specific treaties as they apply to weapons;
  • Participate in trainings for internal and external audiences on IHL and weapons;
  • Undertake other assignments, including short field missions, as needed.

Education and experience required

  • Advanced law degree;
  • Expertise in IHL and solid understanding of human rights law and/or arms control regimes;
  • At least two ICRC field missions, or equivalent field experience with other humanitarian organisations;
  • Professional experience in a public international law field or diplomacy, including in multilateral processes, preferably in the arms field;
  • Formal project management experience an asset;
  • Good knowledge of the ICRC and the International Red Cross / Red Crescent Movement, with ICRC HQ experience an asset.

Desired skills and profile

  • Impeccable oral and written English and ability to understand French; mastery of another UN language an asset;
  • Excellent research, analytical and organisational skills;
  • Excellent representational and communication skills, and political judgement;
  • Rigor and speed in drafting and revision of legal and technical texts;
  • Sense of initiative and the ability to work independently;
  • Openness to dialogue and ease in inter-personal communication, and proven ability to work in a team;
  • Strong humanitarian motivation.

Additional information

Unit:                                 Arms Unit

Type of role:                   Resident 

Type of contract:           Open-ended 

Length of assignment:  2 years (renewable)

Working rate:                 100% 

Starting date:                 1 September 2017

Application deadline:     10 july 2017

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: ICRC - International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Location: Geneva
  • Grade: Mid/Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
    • Human Rights
  • Closing Date: 2017-09-01

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