Trial Attorney

Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section
Washington, DC 20005
United States
About the Office: 

HRSP primarily investigates and prosecutes cases that fall into two broad categories: 1) serious violations of human rights and certain other violent crimes committed outside the United States; and 2) serious violations of federal laws pertaining to immigration and acquisition of U.S. citizenship. The first category includes cases involving genocide, torture, war crimes, recruitment or use of child soldiers, and international violent crime including under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA). The second category involves violations of U.S. immigration and citizenship laws, whether by human rights violators who have sought safe haven in the United States or by transnational smuggling networks that present national security risks or involve endangerment of the migrants. The Section's prosecutions are usually pursued jointly with a United States Attorney's Office and involve complex investigations. Most of the Section's cases have an international component.

HRSP also has significant policy responsibilities for all areas within its jurisdictions. HRSP is active in various U.S. government interagency projects and deliberations pertaining to its mission and internationally in a variety of bilateral and multilateral engagements including those involving human rights crimes.

This position is a permanent appointment, but in exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to qualified persons seeking a reimbursable detail position from the Department of Justice or other government agency. For persons seeking a reimbursable detail, per diem/travel expenses will not be available; conditions of any detail will be handled on a case by case basis and will require an agreement between the gaining and losing components.

Job Description: 

The Criminal Division U.S. Department of Justice is seeking an experienced attorney with expertise in international humanitarian law and criminal human rights prosecutions to serve as an attorney in the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP). The position involves substantial responsibility for providing legal advice and expertise in matters affecting the investigation and prosecution of federal crimes in HRSP's portfolio including genocide, war crimes, torture, and child soldiers laws. Legal expertise in international humanitarian law and criminal law is required.

As a Trial Attorney, the incumbent:

  • Works on cases being investigated and prosecuted by HRSP in federal court, usually in partnership with United States Attorneys' Offices.
  • Handles complex, challenging, and potentially novel legal issues.
  • Develops and maintains positive and effective relationships with our numerous law enforcement partners including federal, military and international investigative agencies.
  • Advises and consults with the deputy chiefs, Section Chief, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General, the Assistant Attorney General, and others on the status of all cases and matters.
  • Works with others in the Department of Justice and other agencies to develop policy.

Grade Specific Qualifications:

  • To qualify at the GS-15 grade level, applicants have at least four (4) years post J.D. legal experience, one of which was specialized experience at, or equivalent to, the GS-14 grade level. Examples of specialized experience include: independently performing legal analysis; composing briefs, policy, legislative proposals and other documents involving unique and/or difficult legal issues in international law issues to include: war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, child soldiers, and torture; and conducting litigation related to international law issues.
  • To qualify at the GS-14 grade level, applicants have at least three (3) years post J.D. legal experience, one of which was specialized experience at, or equivalent to, the GS-13 grade level. Examples of specialized experience include: independently performing legal analysis; composing briefs, policy, legislative proposals and other documents involving unique and/or difficult legal issues in international law issues to include: war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, child soldiers, and torture.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Knowledge of U.S. criminal law, U.S. military law, and the law from international tribunals.
  • Understanding and expertise regarding policy development within the inter-agency process.
  • Experience with the development of law, policy, and legislative proposals.
  • Experience working with foreign governments, international organizations, and persons from diverse cultures and background.
  • Criminal prosecutorial experience.
  • Foreign language fluency (in addition to English).
The salary range for this position is GS-14/15, $107,235- $158,700 per annum, which includes locality pay. See OPM's Web page at
Domestic and international travel is required on a regular basis.
Application Process: 

The Application Package must be received by 11:59 PM, Eastern Time, on the closing date of this announcement.

Please submit your application through USAJOBS. The list of required documents can be found in the USAJobs announcement.

1. If you do not already have an account, please create a USAjobs account before applying. Create an Account. You will be able to upload your resume and supporting documents and complete your profile prior to applying.

2. Once you have an account, apply to the USAjobs vacancy:

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Number of Positions: 
Updated April 7, 2016

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Department Policies

Equal Employment Opportunity:  The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer.  Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination because of color, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability (physical or mental), age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as a parent, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, on the basis of personal favoritism, or any other non-merit factor.  The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice.

Reasonable Accommodations:  This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency.  Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Outreach and Recruitment for Qualified Applicants with Disabilities:  The Department encourages qualified applicants with disabilities, including individuals with targeted/severe disabilities to apply in response to posted vacancy announcements.  Qualified applicants with targeted/severe disabilities may be eligible for direct hire, non-competitive appointment under Schedule A (5 C.F.R. § 213.3102(u)) hiring authority.  Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to contact one of the Department’s Disability Points of Contact (DPOC) to express an interest in being considered for a position. See list of DPOCs.   

Suitability and Citizenship:  It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment.  Employment is also contingent upon the completion and satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation. Congress generally prohibits agencies from employing non-citizens within the United States, except for a few narrow exceptions as set forth in the annual Appropriations Act (see, Pursuant to DOJ component policies, only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Trustee’s Offices, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, qualifying non-U.S. citizens meeting immigration and appropriations law criteria may apply for employment with other DOJ organizations. However, please be advised that the appointment of non-U.S. citizens is extremely rare; such appointments would be possible only if necessary to accomplish the Department's mission and would be subject to strict security requirements. Applicants who hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All DOJ employees are subject to a residency requirement. Candidates must have lived in the United States for at least three of the past five years. The three-year period is cumulative, not necessarily consecutive. Federal or military employees, or dependents of federal or military employees serving overseas, are excepted from this requirement. This is a Department security requirement which is waived only for extreme circumstances and handled on a case-by-case basis.

Veterans:  There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documentation) to their submissions. Although the "point" system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, for a copy of SF 15, which lists the types of 10-point preferences and the required supporting document(s). Applicants should note that SF 15 requires supporting documentation associated with service- connected disabilities or receipt of nonservice-connected disability pensions to be dated 1991 or later except in the case of service members submitting official statements or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that his  or her retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that he/she was transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).


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This and other vacancy announcements can be found under Attorney Vacancies and Volunteer Legal Internships. The Department of Justice cannot control further dissemination and/or posting of information contained in this vacancy announcement. Such posting and/or dissemination is not an endorsement by the Department of the organization or group disseminating and/or posting the information.