International Technical Consultant - Victim and Witness Protection

Colombo

Background

Background

The subject of victim and witness protection gained legal recognition in Sri Lanka through the enactment of the ‘Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act - No 4 of 2015 in February 2016. The discussion on the need to introduce victim and witness protection legislation was revived in 2005 with the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) and the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) appointed to investigate gross violations of human rights expressing concern over the limited participation of witnesses in the investigation efforts. The move to draft legislation gathered momentum with scores of victims and witnesses displaying a reluctance to report a crime and/or testify before a Court or Commission in the absence of protection mechanisms. Repeated calls by civil society and organizations offering victim services intensified and accelerated the efforts towards the legal recognition of the rights and entitlements of victims of crime and witnesses. In keeping with the Act, the National Authority for the Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses and the Victims and Witnesses Assistance and Protection Division of the Sri Lanka Police was established in January and November 2016 respectively.

Apart from the persistent challenges associated with the mounting backlog of cases, a key contributory factor to laws delays is the victims/witnesses’ unwillingness to participate in the justice process. In the absence of effective protection laws, victims and witnesses remain reluctant to report crimes, participate in the investigative process and testify in court for fear of reprisals, retaliation, threat and intimidation. The resultant low prosecution and conviction rates fail to act as a deterrent against serious crime thereby effecting an increase in victimization. Within this context, the passage of the victim and witness protection law was deemed as having the potential to herald a new era in criminal justice in Sri Lanka. Despite/notwithstanding the passage of one year and eight months since the establishment of the National Authority and the Police Division (respectively), both institutions are at a relatively embryonic stage in respect to their technical, administrative, and operational competencies. Extensive training on the expeditious and effective response to complaints and requests for protection remains a necessary and urgent requirement. Furthermore, assistance is required on the interpretation and practical applicability of the legal provisions, the provision of services in accordance with international standards and best practices, and the extension of the principles of protection in the implementation of legislation ancillary to the victim and witness protection law. While the Law confers powers and imposes duties on various authorities and governmental establishments, there is an imperative need for an enhanced understanding of the importance of institutional coordination in the delivery of meaningful protection services.

The presence of a robust and independent victim and witness protection regime would help instill and restore public confidence in the justice system and ensure a participatory approach to combating crime. In the interest of creating a climate conducive to meting out justice meaningfully, there were repeated calls for the enactment of victim and witness protection laws to encourage victims and witnesses to report crime and testify before a court and/or commission. While the passage of victim and witness protection law in 2015 was welcomed as a significant achievement, and the United Nations Human Rights Council acknowledged the Government of Sri Lanka’s commitment to review the law,  the UNHCHR through its report reiterated its recommendation that the review of the existing victim and witness protection law be conducted “with a view to incorporating strong safeguards for the independence and effectiveness of the victim and witness protection programme, in accordance with international standards”. Accordingly, a committee was appointed by the Minister of Justice to review the current law and recommend necessary amendments.

The above-mentioned Review Committee meets on a bi/tri-weekly basis to deliberate on the changes and draft amendments to the existing victim and witness protection law. The Committee also envisages consulting the views of all stakeholders and interested parties during the Review to ensure that the process is holistic and reflective of best practices.

Apart from the technical and structural provisions that are being revisited by the Committee, it was decided that the victim and witness protection mechanisms of other common law countries be studied in order to identify replicable best practices. Towards this end, the Committee is studying the mechanisms followed by the Scottish, British, South African, and Kenyan jurisdictions. Additionally, it was decided that an in-depth study of the Court decisions (from common law jurisdictions) on victim and witness protection would be useful in understanding the way in which the legal provisions have been interpreted and given effect in the afore-said jurisdictions.

In light of the fact that Sri Lanka’s criminal law regime is modelled on British common law principles, the Committee recognizes the importance of studying the victim and witness protection mechanisms in the UK and Scotland in order to elicit replicable best practices that can be incorporated within the Sri Lankan context. Towards this end, a thorough study of the corpus of victim and witness protection laws and court decisions in the UK is proposed. The Committee also intends to examine the practical measures, standard operating procedures, and innovative practices adopted in the UK in the interest of introducing progressive (tried and tested) practices during the review.

SCOPE AND OBJECTIVES

The proposed initiative is positioned under the following Project Outcome, Output, and Activity: 

Project Outcome: Rule of law and access to justice are strengthened to support social integration in Sri Lanka

Output 1: Institutional capacities strengthened for improved administration of justice, strategic planning and policy development for a longer-term sector wide approach to victim and witness protection

Activity 1.2.1 Conduct a review of the existing policies and legal frameworks to inform the provisions of the VWP Act and ensure complementarity with international standards and best practices.

The initiative is aimed at supporting the Committee reviewing the current victim and witness protection law in Sri Lanka with technical expertise on the British and Scottish models of victim and witness protection; more specifically on the legislative framework, operational modalities, and the service-provision aspects of assistance and protection. The Review Committee envisages, inter alia, understanding the specific victim protection measures in the UK and Scotland as distinct from witness protection; the special measures available for vulnerable victims/witnesses; the institutional autonomy of and the division of labour between the state mechanism, law enforcement, and other service providers; judicial trends and practices in interpreting the law; and the progressive definitions used when implementing the law. The Consultant is expected to work in close cooperation with the Committee in carrying out the tasks outlined as below.

Duties and Responsibilities

RESPONSIBILITIES

Expected Outputs & Deliverables

The Consultant is expected to;

Provide technical expertise to the Review Committee.

 a) On victim and witness protection legislation in the UK and Scotland;

 b) On the best practices adopted by the UK and Scotland in relation to Victims and Witnesses;

 c) To draft the amendments incorporating best practices (as far as is relevant and practicable within the Sri Lankan context).

  • Provide technical information on best practices in relation to interpretation of the law on victims and witnesses as provided for in case law in UK and Scotland;
  • Provide technical expertise on the administrative and structural process associated with implementing the victim and witness protection law in UK and Scotland (E.g: multiple institutions and units involved in protection services, maintaining independence in instances where the state is the alleged perpetrator etc.);
  • Provision of technical expertise on the types of protection available for victims and witnesses ancillary to the law/legal provisions (victims code of practice, crown prosecutors code, victim’s charters etc.);
  • Provide technical expertise on the recent developments in standards and practice relating to victim/witness protection in the UK/Scotland;
  • Specific guidance/expertise on the legal and procedural practices in relation to vulnerable victims/witnesses in UK/Scotland including special measures to incorporate gender sensitivity in service provision;
  • Guidance on the principles, protections, and rights afforded to victims and witnesses under subsidiary and supplementary legislation;
  • Provide technical guidance on the standard operating procedures adopted by the protection institutions in UK/Scotland;
  • Provide an overview of the general challenges faced by law enforcement and other institutions in implementing the law etc;
  • Submit a detailed/comprehensive report of the recommendations (containing practices in UK) to the Review Committee and UNDP;
  • Participate in meetings (in-country or remotely) with the Review Committee to present the UK model on victim and witness protection, and discuss the draft recommendations;
  • Share a report containing references to decided cases (on victim and witness protection) and illustrate the substantive points contained therein.

TIMEFRAME

The stipulated time frame of the contract is a total of 60 days over a period of six months starting October 2017 and ending in April 2018.

Competencies

PROFILE OF THE CONSULTANT

Cognizant of the need to secure expertise from the United Kingdom (Common Law Jurisdiction), the Consultant will;

  • Possess a strong background in Victimology, Law and/or Law Enforcement, Victim/Witness Protection in the jurisdiction of England/Wales (knowledge of the Scottish model will be an added advantage);
  • Demonstrate a strong legal research background on the subject and/or proven experience in advising governments and/or protection services providers;
  • Technical expertise in the field of law reform including in the operationalization of the law and a sound technical knowledge on the international norms and standards on victim and witness protection.

COMPETENCIES

Technical Skills:

  • In-depth knowledge on the international standards on victimology and recent developments/trends on victimology;
  • Sound knowledge on the legislative framework of victim and witness protection in the United Kingdom – England and Wales (knowledge on the Scottish legal framework an added advantage);
  • Sound knowledge on the supplementary legal provisions on victim and witness protection contained in other laws in the UK/Scotland;
  • A firm understanding of the institutional coordination mechanisms and practices for the protection of victims of crime and witnesses in the UK/Scotland;
  • A sound knowledge of the provisions/implementation of the provisions of the Victim’s Code and the Witness Charter;
  • A sound understanding of the procedural framework and administrative practices and challenges in the implementation of victim and witness protection law in the UK/Scotland;
  • A basic understanding of the Sri Lankan legal system and a general understanding of principles of criminal law in common law countries (Note: SL as a country following the British Common Law model);
  • Ability to read and analyse Judgements from the UK and Scotland and other common law jurisdictions (where relevant);
  • A general understanding of and an ability to read and analyse the ‘Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act’ (No. 4 of 2015) of Sri Lanka;
  • A strong ability to comprehend legal principles and doctrines nestled in case law and a capacity to identify interpretive patterns;
  • A good technical knowledge on the incorporation of gender sensitive principles and measures in the protection of victims of crime and witnesses;
  • A sound knowledge of the special legal provisions and practical measures available to vulnerable victims and witnesses in the UK/Scotland;
  • Ability to analyse the practices of the UK/Scotland in order to draw parallels or dissimilarities with the Sri Lankan victim and witness protection law;
  • Ability to identify victim and witness protection practices in the UK/Scotland that are potentially replicable within the Sri Lankan context;
  • Demonstrated ability to submit practical recommendations for consideration and incorporation (where relevant and practicable) in the Sri Lankan victim and witness protection amendment act;
  • Excellent report writing and presentation skills.

Partnerships: 

  • Ability to work in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural background;
  • Ability to work in close cooperation with high level officials, senior legal practitioners, government officials, law enforcement personnel (police), representatives from UN and non-governmental organizations in Sri Lanka;
  • Ability to regularly engage in joint/one-to-one discussions on the law with the  above-mentioned officials;
  • Ability to communicate and reiterate viewpoints effectively (while respecting contradictory views);
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and/or within a team;
  • Ability to coordinate and potentially introduce counter parts (secure specialized expertise), in the UK to the Sri Lankan victim and witness protection institutions;
  • Demonstrated ability to engage with practitioners and academia alike in ascertaining new developments in the field of international standards;
  • The potential to establish links between victim service organizations in the UK and Sri Lanka to facilitate an exchange of information/resources will be an added advantage.

Results:

  • Proven ability to work under pressure and adhere to strict timelines;
  • Ability to adapt to changing priorities (contextual and/or subject-specific);
  • Ability to provide high quality technical advisory services on the subject of victim/witness protection within the context of the review process in Sri Lanka based on the priority focus areas identified by the Review Committee.

Required Skills and Experience

Qualifications

  • A Masters or Doctoral degree in Law, Criminology, Social Sciences or any other related degree. An Attorney-At-Law/Barristers/Solicitors qualification would be an added advantage;
  • Proven ability to conduct extensive legal research.

Experience

  • Experience working with senior legal practitioners and academia;
  • Past experience working with UNDP and/or other UN agencies, government institutions and/or law enforcement will be an added advantage;
  • Publication of books, journal articles (including peer-reviewed articles) and/or a demonstrated ability to write analytical papers;
  • Knowledge on/experience working on Sri Lanka would be an added advantage.

Languages:

  • Excellent written and spoken knowledge of English.

HOW TO APPLY 

         To apply please access UNDP Jobs site http://jobs.undp.org

The application should contain;

  • Letter of Interest expressing your intent to undertake the assignment as per the ToR and outlining your suitability to undertake the assignment;
  • Updated CV to include qualifications/competencies and relevant past experience in similar projects and contact details of 3 professional referees who can certify your competencies and overall suitability to this TOR;
  • Individual consultants will be evaluated based on a combination of factors including cover letter, the credentials on offer and brief interview (optional) and the offer which gives the best value for money for the UNDP;
  • Please send the Financial Proposal separately to the following e-mail address: procurement.lk@undp.org  stating the vacancy number/position  in the subject line.

Financial Proposal

All Inclusive Lump Sum Fee: LKR

Amount in words: (Rs).

  • NOTE: In the event of a country visit to Sri Lanka, costs associated with such a visit including airfare, accommodation and transport will be factored in separate from the above financial proposal.

Note: Payments will be based on invoices submitted as per section ‘I’ below. A detailed time sheet should also be submitted corresponding to and outlining the number of days worked i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR and certification of acceptance by the UNDP.

No costs other than what has been indicated in the financial proposal will be paid or reimbursed to the consultant. The UNDP will only pay for any unplanned travel outside of this TOR and Duty Station on actual basis and on submission of original bills/invoices and on prior agreement with UNDP officials. Daily perdiums and costs for accommodation/meals/incidental expenses for such travel shall not exceed established local UNDP DSA rates.

For an Individual Contractor who is of 62 years of age or older, and on an assignment requiring travel, be it for the purpose of arriving at the duty station or as an integral duty required under the TOR, a full medical examination and statement of fitness to work must be provided.  Such medical examination costs must be factored in to the financial proposal above. Medical examination is not a requirement for individuals on RLA contracts. 

Payment for Services

Payments will be based on the specific number of days worked during each month certified by the Programme Manager/Consultant- Access to Justice;

  • Payments will be based on the submission of a ‘Monthly Report’ specifying the number of days worked during such month - including an outline of the technical support provided for the month with specific reference to the technical input provided (including copies of the technical material provided to the Review Committee);
  • The final payment will be made upon submission of the Monthly Report AND the detailed/consolidated report of recommendations to the Review Committee and UNDP.

 

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

 

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.
Apply
  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Colombo
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - International Law
    • Criminology, Police Affairs and Anti-Corruption
    • Civil Society and Local governance
    • Protection Officer (Refugee)
  • Closing Date: 2017-10-21

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