Camp Zama attorney reflects on role as Special Victim Counsel
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (July 12, 2019) -- As Capt. Anthony Hosein looks back on the nearly two years he spent as the Special Victim Counsel at Camp Zama, he is glad the position exists and is proud of the work he has done.
"When I help a client who feels like they were a victim to empower them to give them back the control that they feel has been taken from them, it's very rewarding for me," Hosein said.
The Army created the Special Victim Counsel Program in November 2013, with full operational capability in January 2014, and the licensed military attorneys who work within the program act as advocates for sexual assault victims as they navigate the justice process, according to the Army.
"Basically I advocate for victims of rape, people who claimed they were raped, sexually assaulted or the victim of any kind of sexual misconduct," Hosein said. "They come to me as their advocate to help them negotiate the legal system. I work with them from the investigation phase, from when the allegation is first made, all the way through final disposition."
Hosein, who is also chief of claims and a legal assistance attorney at the U.S. Army Japan Legal Assistance Office at Camp Zama, said the SVC position at Camp Zama covers all of mainland Japan and Okinawa.
"It's a very important position, particularly here in Japan at Camp Zama, because we don't have anyone else on mainland Japan or Okinawa to speak for [those victims]," Hosein said. "Although the caseload is light, even one client is significant, and that's one person you've helped."
The SVC positions are important, Hosein said, because prior to the Army establishing the program, the system considered victims simply as witnesses.
"It wasn't about them; it wasn't about what happened to them," Hosein said. "… Because of the nature of these crimes, it's important to have [legal proceedings that are] victim-centric, victim-focused and get the focus on the victim."
Hosein said he does everything from accompany victims to interviews, if they want to be interviewed, write and argue motions, and speak for victims through every step of the process, including with the other attorneys involved and the accused's chain of command.
In addition, Hosein said he makes sure victims get access to support.
"I'm there to liaison with the chain of command to make sure that they're still getting the financial support, they're getting the emotional support from behavioral health, they're getting spiritual help from the chaplain's office, and every other resource that's available," Hosein said.
Step by step, the process helps victims feel more in control, empowered and confident that the system will serve justice, Hosein said.
"It gives me a sense of pride to know that I'm helping [victims] reestablish faith in the system," Hosein said.
Hosein, who leaves Camp Zama this summer to go to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, to work as an SVC in the medical group, said he will miss Camp Zama.
"I've enjoyed my time here," Hosein said. "I'm [moving] soon. If I could, I would stay longer. I love Japan. I loved U.S. Army Japan and this unit has been really great and I hopefully will come back again."
Kent Herring, chief of the USARJ Legal Assistance Office, said he expects Hosein's replacement to arrive in September.
The SVC Program is important because the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army trains and certifies SVCs, and through that training they learn how to best represent victims of sexual assault, Herring said.
The legal system can be challenging--even attorneys who are familiar with the process sometimes have to look up issues--and victims highly value the program, Herring said.
For more information, call the office at DSN (315) 263-4698, or commercial 046-407-4698 to set up an appointment, or visit the office's webpage at https://www.usarj.army.mil/staff/sja/lao.
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