|Alma mater||北京第二外国语学院; University of Melbourne (B.A.), (LL.B); University of Oxford (Ph.D).|
|Employer||National University of Singapore Faculty of Law|
|Notable work(s)||One Nation Under Surveillance (2011); Law and Practice of the United Nations (with Thomas M. Franck and David M. Malone, 2008); You, The People (2004); Just War or Just Peace? (2001).|
Simon Chesterman (simplified Chinese: 陈西文; traditional Chinese: 陳西文; pinyin: Chén Xīwén) is Dean and Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore. He is also the Secretary-General of the Asian Society of International Law and Editor of the Asian Journal of International Law.
Chesterman succeeded Tan Cheng Han as Dean of the Faculty of Law at the National University of Singapore on 1 January 2012. Prior to January 2012, he was Global Professor and Director of the New York University School of Law Singapore Programme. His research concerns international law, conceptions of public authority, state-building and post-conflict reconstruction. He is critical of what he sees as the changing and increasingly expanding role of intelligence agencies. Chesterman is the author or editor of twelve books.
In 2013, he was appointed as a member of Singapore's Data Protection Advisory Committee.
Chesterman graduated with first class honours in arts and law from the University of Melbourne, where he won the Supreme Court Prize as the top student. He obtained a Rhodes Scholarship and completed his Ph.D in international law at Oxford University under the supervision of the late Sir Ian Brownlie. He also holds a diploma in Chinese language from the Beijing International Studies University (北京第二外国语学院).
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As a Modern Law Review article notes, Chesterman condemns NATO's intervention in the Kosovo War as being "completely outside the United Nations system of security and a threat to global stability". Chesterman writes as a co-author in one article "Has US power destroyed the UN?" that "the system created in 1945 to preserve peace and security has been seriously compromised." 
His doctoral thesis as a Rhodes Scholar, became one of his first books, Just War or Just Peace? Humanitarian Intervention and International Law. Before publication as a book, the work had originally won a 2000 Dasturzada Dr Jal Pavry Memorial Prize for "best thesis in international relations". One review article of this book by Nico Krisch in the European Journal of International Law described Chesterman's book as being pessimistic about humanitarian intervention, when compared to his contemporary Nicholas J. Wheeler who is more optimistic about establishing an international framework for "ideal humanitarian intervention".
Chesterman does not believe that "ideal humanitarian intervention" exists; according to Krisch, he instead belongs to the school of thought that argues that states should "justify their action based on political arguments" rather than relying on a "[humanitarian] recognition of exception to the use of force". Though the intervention would go against international law, it would be in Chesterman's words, a "venial sin". As Krisch analyses, Wheeler also raises "plausible" opposition to this — it would create a "perception" that "powerful states" could ignore international law whenever they wished, pushing other countries to treat international law "equally cavalierly". Noting Chesterman's position, Krisch writes, "law loses much of its weight if its deviation from moral standards is openly admitted and other ways of justification are recognised." Chesterman further argues in Just War or Just Peace that the enforcement of the Iraqi no-fly zones and the Operation Deny Flight (the no-fly zone in Kosovo) went outside the framework of the United Nations, but Krisch calls this claim "overstated". Nevertheless the book received an American Society of International Law Certificate of Merit.
In Just War or Just Peace, Chesterman rejects the idea that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY)'s repression of the Kosovars represented a "supreme humanitarian emergency". Instead, as Nicholas Wheeler notes, Chesterman is "sympathetic" to Russia's historical argument before the Security Council (SC) "that the crisis did not merit an armed response". Going against the widely-accepted view is that Russia's threat to use its UN Security Council veto against UN intervention in Kosovo was an act of "mere contrariness" to NATO, Chesterman instead argues NATO "never seriously contemplated that there might be genuine objections to the policies of NATO member states in their dealings with [the FRY]." Chesterman and his allies, Wheeler writes, would actually believe that Russia's official SC position matched its actual belief on the matter; to Chesterman, Russia would have changed its position had the situation "worsened along the apocalyptic lines predicted by NATO governments".
Nevertheless, writing in the journal International Affairs, Wheeler concluded that "Chesterman has written a tour de force that exposes the weaknesses of the arguments supporting a doctrine of unilateral humanitarian intervention in international society ... Chesterman rejects the claim that states have a legal right to act as vigilantes in support of Council resolutions, even if they believe that this is the only means to stop a genocide. The powerfully argued thesis of this scholarly work is that accepting this proposition in law is 'a recipe for bad policy, bad law, and a bad international order'."
Chesterman's book You, The People: The United Nations, Transitional Administration, and State-Building (Oxford University Press, 2004), studies the foundation of new institutions in war-torn regions such as the former Yugoslavia and southeast Asia. Noting Chesterman's intent to highlight the mutually related yet sometimes mutually opposing "ends of liberal democracy and the means of benevolent autocracy," a review article in the George Washington International Law Review called it a "misdelivered message". It was reviewed positively in the New York Review of Books by Brian Urquhart who wrote that "the weight of the subject and the depth of the research are supported by wit, candor, brevity, and analytical writing of a very high order." Another review in Human Rights Quarterly stated that the book "speaks with the authority of a major global commission study and offers analyses and prescriptions with important implications for human rights scholars and practitioners."
More recently, Chesterman has written on the regulation and oversight of intelligence services, including a monograph published by Australia’s Lowy Institute for International Policy. In an opinion piece published in the global edition of the New York Times in November 2009, he argued for limits to the outsourcing of intelligence activities to private contractors such as Blackwater.
Oxford University Press published Chesterman’s twelfth book in March 2011. Entitled One Nation Under Surveillance: A New Social Contract to Defend Freedom Without Sacrificing Liberty, it examines what limits — if any — should be placed on a government's efforts to spy on its citizens in the name of national security. Writing in the New York Review of Books, David D. Cole said that Chesterman "argues convincingly that the specter of catastrophic terrorist attacks creates extraordinary pressure for intrusive monitoring; that technological advances have made the collection and analysis of vast amounts of previously private information entirely feasible; and that in a culture transformed by social media, in which citizens are increasingly willing to broadcast their innermost thoughts and acts, privacy may already be as outmoded as chivalry."
Chesterman is an editor of the Asian Journal of International Law, founded in 2007 by the National University of Singapore and published from 2011 by Cambridge University Press. He is on the editorial boards of other journals including Global Governance,Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding,Security Dialogue, and The Hague Journal on the Rule of Law.
Chesterman has been author or co-author of various reports for the United Nations, governments, and private bodies. Examples include:
- “The UN Security Council and the Rule of Law”, arguing for greater accountability and circulated as a document of the United Nations in all UN languages;
- “Assessment of Implementation of Articles 3 and 4 of the Ethical Guidelines for the Government Pension Fund – Global”, reviewing the ethical investment strategy of Norway's sovereign wealth fund and co-authored with the Albright Group founded by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright;
- “Asia’s Role in Global Governance”, a report of the World Economic Forum's Global Redesign Initiative co-authored with Kishore Mahbubani.
- NUS Press Release.
- NUS Law School profile, NYU profile
- National University of Singapore, Young Researcher Award 2010. Nus.edu.sg (2010-05-24). Retrieved on 2011-11-04.
- "Commission and Advisory Committee to Administer and Advise on Personal Data Protection Act". Retrieved January 23, 2013.
- "NUS Press Release, Annex 1.".
- Tan, Amelia (1 November 2011). "Grads must be creative thinkers: New NUS law dean". The Straits Times. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
- Charlesworth, Hilary (2002). "International Law: A Discipline of Crisis.". Modern Law Review 65: 377–392. doi:10.1111/1468-2230.00385.
- "OUP: Chesterman: Just War or Just Peace?: Humanitarian Intervention – Oxford University Press". Ukcatalogue.oup.com. 2002-11-07. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- Oxford University Gazette, 14 December 2000. Ox.ac.uk. Retrieved on 2011-11-04.
- Krisch, Nico (2002). "Review: Legality, Morality and the Dilemma of Humanitarian Intervention after Kosovo". European Journal of International Law 13 (1): 323–335. doi:10.1093/ejil/13.1.323.
- "The American Society of International Law Past ASIL Award Winners and Honorees". Asil.org. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- Wheeler, Nicholas, J (2001). "Legitimating Human Intervention: Principles and Procedures". Melbourne Journal of International Law 2: 555.
- Wheeler, Nicholas, J (2001). "Book Review". International Affairs 77: 687.
- "Oxford University Press: You, the People: Simon Chesterman". Us.oup.com. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- Marcella, David (2005). "BOOK REVIEW: MISDELIVERED MESSAGE: You the People: The United Nations, Transitional Administration, and State-Building.". George Washington International Law Revie 37 (831): 296.
- ''New York Review of Books'', 23 September 2004. Nybooks.com (2004-09-23). Retrieved on 2011-11-04.
- ''Human Rights Quarterly'', vol 27, no 2, May 2005, review by Richard L. Siegel. Muse.jhu.edu. Retrieved on 2011-11-04.
- ''Shared Secrets: Intelligence and Collective Security'', (Sydney: Lowy Institute for Public Policy, 2006). Lowyinstitute.org. Retrieved on 2011-11-04.
- Chesterman, Simon. (2009-11-12) "Blackwater and the Limits to Outsourcing Security", ''New York Times (Global Edition)/International Herald Tribune'', 12 November 2009. Nytimes.com. Retrieved on 2011-11-04.
- Oxford University Press UK. Ukcatalogue.oup.com (2011-02-24). Retrieved on 2011-11-04.
- Oxford University Press USA. Oup.com. Retrieved on 2011-11-04.
- "New York Review of Books", 22 December 2011. Nybooks.com (201-12-22). Retrieved on 2013-03-01.
- Simon Chesterman, Thomas M. Franck and David M. Malone, Law and Practice of the United Nations: Documents and Commentary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008); Simon Chesterman (editor), Secretary or General? The UN Secretary-General in World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).
- Simon Chesterman and Angelina Fisher (eds), Private Security, Public Order: The Outsourcing of Public Functions and Its Limits (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); Simon Chesterman and Chia Lehnardt (eds), From Mercenaries to Market: The Rise and Regulation of Private Military Companies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
- "Asian Journal of International Law". Cambridge.org. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
- "Lynne Rienner Publishers | Global Governance Editorial Board". Rienner.com. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- "Taylor & Francis Journals: Welcome". Tandf.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- "Security Dialogue". Sdi.sagepub.com. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- "Cambridge Journals Online – Hague Journal on the Rule of Law". Journals.cambridge.org. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- UN Doc. A/63/69-S/2008/270 (2008). Ssrn.com. Retrieved on 2011-11-04.
- Government of Norway, National budget 2009, Chapter 5: The Management of the Government Pension Fund. Regjeringen.no. Retrieved on 2011-11-04.
- Asia’s Role in Global Governance: World Economic Forum Global Redesign Initiative — Singapore Hearing, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Research Paper No. LKYSPP10-002, NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 10-09. Ssrn.com. Retrieved on 2011-11-04.