• Anywhere
Organization: Médecins Sans Frontières
Closing date: 26 Jun 2022


Médecins Sans Frontières is an international independent medical-humanitarian organization, which offers assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters and to victims of armed conflict, without discrimination and irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation.

MSF is a civil society initiative that brings together individuals committed to the assistance of other human beings in crisis. As such MSF is by choice an association. Each individual working with MSF does it out of conviction and is ready to uphold the values and principles of MSF.

The MSF movement is built around 6 operational directorates supported by MSF’s 21 sections, 24 associations and other offices together worldwide.

MSF OCBA is one of those directorates. The operations are implemented by field teams guided by mission coordination teams. It has organisational units in Barcelona, Athens and decentralised operational units in Nairobi, Dakar and Amman. The field operations are guided and supported by 5 Operational Cells, the Emergency Unit and other departments supporting operations, including the General Direction Department.

MSF OCBA’s portfolio centers on populations in contexts of conflict and violence and provides medical -humanitarian aid to alleviate the consequences of conflict and violence on populations. We strive to be as close to the front line as possible and endeavor to bring differential medical services in locations where services are inexistent or precarious, most of our portfolio is located in remote, challenging areas. In addition, we are strongly focused on emergency response in these types of contexts and locations.


This position is a senior position and combines a strong IHL focus with a strong operational lens, thus in this position the two intersect and overlap bring additional added value to all stakeholders. The position sits in both the ARHP, OCBA’s analysis and reflection on humanitarian practice team, and the ILD (International Legal Department under the Unit 1 (IHL & protection of humanitarian space). The person occupying this position reports hierarchically to the Head of the ARHP, under the Deputy Director of Operations, and is also functionally supervised by the ILD Unit 1 Manager.

Merging an IHL position together with a senior operational profile ensures that angles are broad and interlocking. The person will be expected to provide advisory support to the operational line in terms of major crisis, incident investigation, and will be asked to delve into macro dilemmas, support on analytically based positioning and reflection and support in extracting clear advocacy or lobbying goals from more deep analysis and reflection. This work will be directed by the Head of the ARHP and driven by field needs and /or requests but also in exchange and collaboration with the ILD unit’s manager.

The person, in the above described capacity will be expected to be well informed on humanitarian scoped issues and have the capacity to spar effectively with different levels of stakeholders in the organization. The person will be concerned with reading operations from an IHL perspective and relaying this to the relevant layers.

With regards to the functions linked to the ILD, the person will provide direct legal support to operational teams to ensure the legally informed nature of the medical mission and adding value in MSF’s capacity to guard humanitarian space.

This person will provide legal support to OCBA’s operations department and teams on the field around IHL/humanitarian space issues and dilemmas as well as spar with the medical – legal position in the ARHP.

With regards to the ILD, (s)he also works in a team with other legal advisors of the Intersectional Legal Department based in OCBA and in other OCs to ensure that OCBA and all sections receive uniform quality legal support and to ensure sparring, lessons learnt and to be able to adequately and in a timely manner articulate informed positioning and/or advice from the collective work of the ILD.


1. IHL / IHRL / International Justice:

In collaboration with the IHL specialists in the legal department, (s)he develops expertise and supports missions on International Humanitarian Law, International Human Rights Law and International Justice.

  • Supports field teams in the development of legal arguments and strategies aimed at proactively, and reactively, defending the medical mission and MSF’s humanitarian space: providing support to field teams regarding IHL issues during negotiations of MOU or special agreements/status, or during the management of incidents and in the protection of victims of conflict.
  • Support MSF teams in the management and documenting of situations where IHL has been violated.
  • Support on and ccontribute to the definition of key requests/messages and in the design of negotiation, lobbying or advocacy strategies.
  • Manage legal issues coming from requests from commissions of inquiry or national or international legal proceedings regarding violations of IHL, or national or international criminal frameworks and ensuring that MSF’s policy on participation in such proceedings is applied.
  • Train MSF personnel on relevant IHL issues and develop relevant tools where relevant.
  • Participate in and contribute to the intersectional working groups of the legal department, particularly relating to IHL and national/international legal proceedings and lead specific assigned dossiers as well as feeding back pertinent information to the ARHP and operational line.
  • Contribute to the country approach put in place by ILD and monitor/analyze the situation of countries assigned from an IHL perspective and within the team work provided by ILD Unit 1.
  • Participate to the analysis on Counter Terrorism performed by Unit 1. Support field teams in the management of incidents and requests/investigations.
  • Could be requested to lead the investigation after a critical event which would include(i) supervising the gathering of evidence, (ii) analysing the data, (iii) producing the report (establishing the facts, lessons learnt, identification of messages and advocacy plan).
  • Undertake regular missions on the relevant projects needing support.
  • Fill in the reporting “case.one” tool as per appropriate working hours dedicated to the ILD (50%).

2. Protection of victims of violence:

Assists field teams with the legal management of victims of violence and all patients’ protection concerns in conflict and non-conflict affected countries.

  • Articulates OCBA’s framework for the protection of victims of violence and of sexual violence (including minors), particularly taking into account specific operational contexts and their various national medico-legal framework. (specific emphasis in 2018 on developing frameworks for victims of ill treatment).
  • Supports and sometimes may oversee together with the Head of ARHP/ILD the medico-legal responsibilities in the med- leg position in regard to the protection of victims of violence, including sexual violence and minors, and liaise with the other legal advisors and relevant “protection” actors in field missions to manage individual cases.
  • Provides support to field teams regarding violence/proceedings against MSF structures and patients (security incidents, arrests, notification obligations, medical confidentiality, specific considerations concerning minors, legal proceedings etc.).

3. Operational Angles:

  • Can take on assigned leads of specific in-depth analysis and reflection papers/dossiers as required by the Head of the ARHP, Dir Ops or DDG.
  • Will support Desks and Field in major crises on producing analysis or scenarios and if needed will deploy to field to carry out the analysis or support on negotiation or other.
  • Will undertake a natural sparring role in the ARHP team and with key stakeholders in operations, in particular, Desks and Heads of Mission as well as other HAAS.
  • Will support the Head of ARHP in boosting capacity on field in analytical, reflection and advocacy.
  • Will proactively keep abreast of OCBAs priority contexts and have a good working knowledge of OCBAs operational dilemmas.

4. OCBA Legal Team – Centre for Applied Reflection on Humanitarian Practice:

  • Contribute to the definition of the overall OCBA legal strategy.
  • Coordinate the implementation of the medical, IHL and humanitarian space elements of the OCBA legal strategy with operations, the Centre for Applied Reflection on Humanitarian Practice and in collaboration with ILD.
  • Ensure the collaboration with the Humanitarian Affairs Advisors based in the Centre for Applied Reflection on Humanitarian Practice and in Operations.
  • Coordinate with the ILD (including referents and working groups) for capitalization of expertise and experiences, tools and policy developments, trainings.
  • Ensure reflection and analysis on legal and protection themes rooted in the OCBA operational experience (whether context specific or transversal topics), including: (1) participation and/or facilitation of internal discussions on dilemmas or complex situations and (2) writing reflection/analysis pieces for internal and external audiences (internal position papers, articles, reports, depending on the topic and the audience).
  • Participate in external debates and academic panels.
  • Contribute to the end of mission mentoring program by taking on supervision of field coordinators capitalizing/analyzing IHL and protection related experiences they had while on mission.
  • Ensure the collaboration with the other Legal advisors based in OCBA.
  • Lead and coordinate legal field visits for any activities relating to the protection of the medical mission and MSF’s humanitarian space of OCBA missions and projects.
  • Defends OCBA’s interest in several intersectional platforms and act as an active expert member of the legal department working groups on the protection of the medical mission and MSF’s humanitarian space.
  • Regularly (on a monthly basis and upon request) complete the activity chart set up by the legal department.


Education, experience and skills: Essential

  • Master’s degree in law, human rights or international relations.
  • Outstanding analytical and advisory skills.
  • Sound knowledge & experience in IHL.
  • Ability to translate an operational negotiation into legal language and ability to explain legal concerns and their operational implications to field teams.
  • Ability to analyse complex operational environments and synthesise the core elements into conclusions and recommendations for MSF operations and advocacy.
  • Precise understanding of medical humanitarian work with regards to the management and protection of victims of violence.
  • Excellent verbal communication skills, with the ability to represent MSF in high-level external meetings.
  • Computer proficiency.
  • Field experience in MSF or other humanitarian organizations in the areas of protection of victims of violence in zones of armed conflict or other crisis situations.
  • Fluency in English and French (oral and written).
  • Knowledge of the practical workings of the humanitarian and wider aid system in acute and protracted conflict (including UN coordination structures, international NGOs, integrated peacekeeping missions, donors and the role of host governments).

Competencies and Skill Sets:

  • Commitment to MSF’s principles.
  • Cross-cultural awareness.
  • Behavioural maturity.
  • Strategic vision.
  • Results and quality orientation.
  • Planning and organising.
  • Initiative and innovation.
  • Teamwork and cooperation.


  • Position based in any MSF OCBA Hub (Barcelona, MSF-Spain office delegations, Amman, Dakar or Nairobi). Final location will be subject to the employability of the preselected candidate (residency, work permit, etc.).
  • Full-time position.
  • Minimum commitment with the position of 3 years.
  • Annual gross salary: HQ-4C (divided in 12 months payments) + secondary benefits based on MSF OCBA Reward Policy. Conditions subjected to final location conditions.
  • Starting date: immediately.

How to apply

To apply, please submit your CV and cover letter: https://careers.msf-applications.org/job-invite/6482/

Closing date: June 26th, 2022, 23:59 CET (Central European Time)

MSF is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, race, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. We are committed to achieving a balanced gender distribution and therefore encourage women to apply.

All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence. MSF provides a work environment that reflects the values of gender equality, teamwork, integrity and a healthy balance of work and life. MSF does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo reference checks.

Médecins Sans Frontières, as a responsible employer, under article 38 of “Ley de Integración Social del Minusválido de 1982 (LISMI)” invite those persons with a recognized disability and with an interest in the humanitarian area to apply for the above-mentioned position.



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