Graduate profile | Law

Graduate profile

Miriam Mafessanti

Associate Legal Officer
"I am an associate legal officer in the Rwandan Criminal Tribunal’s Chambers."

My role

I am an associate legal officer in the Rwandan Criminal Tribunal’s Chambers. I work closely with a bench composed of three judges, as well as several other legal officers on one case. Together we are responsible for helping the Judges in their daily duties, including drafting decisions on various Prosecution or Defence party motions, conducting research on discrete areas of international criminal law and international humanitarian law, or drafting preliminary findings for the final judgment.

A typical day

This varies according to the case to which you were assigned and its stage of trial (pre-trial, in trial, or in judgement writing phase). At the moment, my days are spent researching and synthesising evidence pertinent to a factual allegation, and drafting decisions with respect to individual allegations. We also routinely meet with our judges in order to discuss preliminary drafts and receive their guidance.

What I like most

I particularly love working on matters which are of important historical and actual relevance.  Not only being able to contribute to the work of the Tribunal, but having the opportunity to learn first-hand and in detail about the Rwandan genocide is extremely enriching. The opportunity also to work at an international level and in such an amazing country as Tanzania is an obvious highlight in my career path.

How I got here

I was always interested in public international law and knew that it was the only area of law I wanted to specialise in. After university I tried to gain international experience by accepting an internship with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. Thereafter, I returned to Australia and gained litigation experience with Clayton Utz in their public law team. I left Clayton Utz to undertake an Advanced Masters in Public International Law at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, and was thereafter fortunate enough to have been employed by the Tribunal.

Hours per week

The Tribunal’s working hours are fairly flexible. As with most professional legal positions, legal officers devote significantly more time to their cases and invariably also weekends. Needless to say, when deadlines are approaching, working hours are as demanding as any law firm.

Salary range

Approximately US$60,000 tax-free (depending on your country of origin) for an Associate Legal Officer.

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