Position: Lead Investigator
Location: Based in Ukraine (preferably) or remote with travel to Ukraine
Contract Type: Consultancy Contract
Compensation: Conform to NGO market levels and commensurate with experience
Term: 12 months
About Project Expedite Justice
Project Expedite Justice (PEJ), founded in 2016, is a United States-based NGO with 501(c)(3) charitable organization designation.
PEJ's mission is to use all available legal options to seek justice for individuals inadequately protected under the law, who cannot access legal resources, and who are exploited by governments, corporations, or others.
PEJ applies a novel, victim-centered approach to addressing mass atrocities. PEJ's 3-step model includes training, mentoring, and providing independent legal consulting. We partner with and train local lawyers and investigators to collect, analyze, and preserve evidence according to international legal standards. Without evidence, there can be no accountability. We further build local capabilities and advance the justice process through case-specific mentoring and strategic guidance to local legal practitioners and investigators. Finally, we partner with local NGOs, pro bono law firms, and legal clinics to represent victims of international crimes and serious human rights abuses in court or alternative judicial mechanisms.
PEJ has projects in several countries. Our inclusive team includes people working remotely from Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and the US. We are deeply committed to increasing opportunities for lawyers and other human rights defenders from the global majority or global south to participate in international rule-of-law-based nonprofit work. People from countries from the global majority are encouraged to apply for this role.
PEJ Ukraine Program
PEJ is implementing in Ukraine an international assistance project (PEJ Ukraine Program) with a hybrid team of Ukrainian and international lawyers, with a mission to support accountability avenues and directly investigate international crimes committed since at least Feb. 24, 2022.
PEJ Ukraine Program is articulated around the following priorities:
Ensure support to victims' communities by facilitating the collection, preservation, and transmission of evidence on the crimes suffered.
Harvest, process, consolidate, and analyze evidence to prepare factual and legal packages and briefs in support to accountability procedures.
Contribute to the global effort to address the plunder of resources, starvation tactics and food security issues associated with the conflict.
Facilitate and contribute to accountability options through legal submissions to appropriate accountability mechanisms in Ukraine and third-party states or international jurisdictions.
Contribute as relevant to strengthening the national justice system's capacity to address pillage and other crimes against property through training and support to Judges, Prosecutors, and law enforcement actors.
Duties and deliverables
Under the overall supervision and strategic guidance of the Senior management of the Ukraine Program (Director, Project Coordinator, and Investigation Coordinator), the lead investigator will work directly with other lead investigators and the investigation teams to implement the activities and achieve the goals of the Ukraine main project.
The lead investigator will be responsible for the following deliverables:
1. Plan and coordinate PEJ investigations for the Kharkiv region:
Contribute to the general implementation of PEJ overall investigative strategy and work plan for Ukraine as decided by the Program Director, with a specific focus on the Kharkiv region and the commission in particular of war crimes against property and destruction of civilian infrastructure, starting from harvesting evidence to data consolidation and preservation, specifically from agrarian stakeholders, infrastructure operators and transportation actors.
Effectively prioritize investigative tasks and propose allocation of resources to ensure efficient progress and meet the organization deadlines, in coordination with the investigation’s coordinator.
Prepare, plan and conduct field investigative missions in accordance with the overall strategy and the approved mission plan and interview planning, in collaboration with the Ukraine project coordinator.
2. Conduct in-depth interviews of witnesses and victims:
Effectively establish rapport and build trust with individuals involved in the investigation and contribute to source development.
Apply PEACE model for account taking of witnesses and victims in accordance with PEJ applicable SOP.
Collect and preserve all evidence material provided by witnesses, victims and sources in accordance with PEJ applicable SOP and in collaboration with the data management team.
3. Supervise collection of open-source information, analyze investigative data and develop leads:
Collaboratively work with open-source investigators to advance investigations, based on field missions’ findings, analysis of documentary evidence collected and gap analysis.
Develop existing investigation cases and build new cases in accordance with the strategy and feed the general investigation narrative.
In collaboration with the case analyst, identify patterns, inconsistencies, and gaps in investigative data to develop leads and adapt field missions and interview planning accordingly.
4. Prepare comprehensive and persuasive investigative reports:
Organize evidence and investigative findings into clear, concise, and well-structured interim and final reports, sanctions briefs, or any other expected outcome, as per PEJ templates.
Work in collaboration with the legal team and in accordance with established legal guidelines and crime matrix.
Present the evidence, findings and analysis to PEJ colleagues and leadership, and to institutional partners when required.
5. Supervise and mentor junior investigators:
Provide guidance and mentorship to junior investigators, fostering their skills and knowledge development, in particular in account taking and collection of evidence.
Share expertise and experience to enhance the overall investigative team's performance.
Evaluate the performance of junior investigators and provide constructive feedback for improvement.
6. Communicate effectively with internal and external stakeholders:
Effectively communicate investigative planning, updates, findings, and decisions to the investigation’s coordinator, the project coordinator and the Ukraine program director.
Maintain open and transparent communication with other lead investigators, PEJ institutional partners and network of sources, victims and witnesses.
Contribute to and participate in training, capacity building activities and mentoring sessions organized by PEJ to institutional partners, if required.
The lead investigator will also participate as relevant in the following general PEJ activities:
PEJ organizational meetings.
Contribute to concept development, proposal writing and other fundraising activities.
Conduct research and drafting legal analysis memoranda on a variety of issues to support partners; and
Assist with and prepare analytical/factual input for the regular reporting needs.
Report and document all activities related to the project or the organization.
A minimum of 7 years of relevant experience in investigative work in criminal proceedings at national or international level.
Work experience in gathering evidence, interviewing suspects and witnesses, and conducting open-source investigation.
Work experience in data processing, mapping and analysis in support to case building.
A university degree in law, international law, criminal investigation, police studies or related fields. An advanced university degree in the aforementioned field is desired.
Substantial field investigation experience.
Exceptional analytical, planning and organization skills.
Experience with the management of electronic and physical evidence presentation and filing systems.
Ability to work independently and in high-pressure or complicated situations and with diverse and multinational teams.
Availability to travel on mission as required.
Technological awareness, willingness and ability to learn new technology and work with technology relevant to the job.
Working fluency in English is required. Fluency in Ukrainian and/or Russian would be an asset.
How to Apply
CV/resume (maximum of two pages);
Cover letter; and
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.