Feature Article

Nambiar, India's proxy in UN, complicit in white flag killings?

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 January 2013, 23:55 GMT]
While the International Community which, blinded by the 9/11 terror, architected the annihilation of Tamils' primary safeguard, the LTTE, is left to savor the resulting horror state and the autocratic dystopia in Sri Lanka, Rights groups have accused the U.N. of being derelict in its duty to protect civilian lives. Vijay Nambiar, the Chef de Cabinet, who was a key official in shaping UN's Sri Lanka policy, is also accused of complicity in the "Whiteflag" incident where several surrendees were executed by the Sri Lanka military after being given assurances of safety by International actors. Nepotism and family connections between Ban Ki Moon and Nambiar, with personal links to India and Colombo, may also have contributed to the U.N.'s unwillingness to stop the Mu'l'livaaykkaal massacre, observers say.

Vijay Nambiar previously served as Deputy National Security Advisor to the Government of India and was the Head of the National Security Council Secretariat. Earlier he served as Ambassador of India in Pakistan, China, Malaysia, Afghanistan, and Algeria.

Nambiar's brother, Satish Nambiar, retired as a Lieutenant General of the Indian Army was a defense advisor to Colombo during the period when the adversaries were involved in the early phases of negotiating a ceasefire. Satish Nambiar served in the Indian Army during Indo-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971, and achieved international recognition as the first Force Commander and Head of Mission of UNPROFOR, the United Nations Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia.

Besides Yukio Takasu and John Holmes, Vijay Nambiar is widely seen as the key third U.N. policy maker who guided the U.N. actions implemented on Sri Lanka's battle ground that brought humanitarian disaster to Eezham Tamils, Tamil activists say. India and China's pressure on the UN Secretary General's contributed to Ban's reticence in taking action against Sri Lanka, France's Ambassador, Gerard Araud, was to say later.

"The U.N. Secretary General is not an agent of the Security Council. Rather the Secretariat is one of 6 Independent Organs of the UNO," says Prof Boyle, an expert in international law, noting a recent interview where Nambiar wrongly said "United Nations works according to the mandates laid out by the Security Council or the General Assembly."

Observers say, however, that Nambiar's mind reflected a tendency to assume a passive posture, and to hide behind the authority of the Security Council, in his reckless disregard to the lives of Tamil civilians, even while admitting that "in between those [U.N.'s] mandates there is a lot the UN Secretariat can do pro-actively, and that is the biggest challenge."

Nambiar's "silent diplomacy" undertaking a visit to Sri Lanka during the fateful last months of the war, his alleged complicity in the involvement of the whiteflag incident, and his refusal to brief the UN Security Council nor to provide a media briefing evoked controversy, reports from the U.N. journalists say.

UN's Petrie report on UN's inaction during the last stages of the war, documents Holmes and Nambiar jointly pressuring Navi Pillay of UNHCR to desist from publishing estimated casualty figures that would put UN in to a “difficult terrain."

When asked why the report had sections blacked out, and there is no mention of Ban's envoy Vijay Nambiar and his role in the so-called White Flag Killings of surrenders Tamil Tiger leaders, UN spokesperson declined to respond, according to ICP.

Petrie Report said "an estimated 360,000 or more civilians were crowded into an ever smaller part of ‘the Wanni’ area of Northern Sri Lanka where many died as a result of sustained artillery shelling, illness and starvation. Almost 280,000 survivors were forcibly interned in military-run camps outside," implying more than 80,000 civilians may have been killed in the Mu'l'livaaykkaal massacre.

Nambiar UN conduct on Sri Lanka, IDPs and War

Key Thematic Nambiar factors

Video, News Report Links

[Start Time] Key Points

Background: UN's view set by Takasu, Nambiar's mindset and Tamils view of the conflict

1. ICP video on UN inaction on Sri Lanka

2. Audio: BBC Newshour with TAG
3. Takasu laidout policy (TamilNet)
4. Nambiar talks on UN power in the last part

The inaction of the UN, primarily the Secretary General and his Chef de Cabinet from 2007 to 2012, Vijay Nambiar are shown in the videos.
- While Vijay Nambiar praises the flexibility and freedom that UN bureaucrats have over national bureaucrats (of States) and that UN Officials who have been imaginative, have been able to initiate a lot of action, Nambiar is faulted for not being proactive in preventing human catastrophe in Mu'l'livaikkaal, and being reluctant to have his ideas, actions critically scrutinized.
- Nambiar is accused of ignoring the perception of conflict of interest while acting as chief envoy to Ban Ki Moon on Sri Lanka conflict due to the biased stand of India against Tamils (LTTE), and personal interest in his brother's close nexus with Colombo ruling family.
- Nambiar has also been accused of (a) working behind the scenes to sanitize UN Panel report and Petrie Report, (b) working closely with Palitha Kohona, and (c) complicity in surrendee killings the factual details Nambiar was hesitant to reveal.

Nambiar's conduct during final phases, reluctance to face critical review of conduct

1. ICP Video on Civilian Deaths
2. ICP: Bloodbath briefing
3. ICP: Nambiar's confidential trip
4. ICP: Nambiar meets Sri Lanka AG
5. ICP: Nambiar's quiet diplomacy
6. ICP: Nambiar keeps UN waiting

Nambiar's important visit to the conflict zone occurred around 16th April 2009.
- Many in Ban's inner circle wondered if it is wise to send an Indian for the job, given India's large Tamil population and response to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.
- Nambiar's ties with the Chinese, is what has made Sri Lanka feel comfortable. Nambiar was India's ambassador to China, and speaks fluent Chinese.
- 21 April 2009 Nambiar left Sri Lanka after Mahinda Rajapakse rebuffed a request for any pause in the military assault, and reportedly told Nambiar not to attempt any contact with the LTTE.
- HRW says military commanders haven't been told clearly enough they may be held accountable for war crimes.
- April 21: Even after China and Russia, agreeing to an "informal interactive dialogue" with Mr. Nambiar. Nambiar views the matter as "too sensitive" even for discussion behind closed doors.
- Nambiar argued that as a "mediator," what he discussed with Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brothers was "confidential," even from the Security Council.
- Later Nambiar continues to actively participate in selecting and managing UN Panel report release and the Petrie report.

Panel report, collaboration with Kohona despite perceived conflict of interest

1. UN Whiteflag questions Video

2. Nambiar and Kohona
3. Nambiar describes whiteflag killings
4. Nambiar's conflict of interest

UN's panel on accountability for war crimes is being put together by Nambiar, with his already controversial role in the final stage of the "bloodbath on the beach" and Sri Lanka's Palitha Kohona.
- UN Special Rapporteur on Summary Execution Philip Alston submits questions to Sri Lankan government on white-flag incident, but not to the UN where Nambiar himself is at least a witness. Why is Nambiar putting together the panel on accountability?
- Panel's reports, troublingly, does not disclose the involvement of Nambiar in the whiteflag incident, instead refers to a UN intermediary.
- 12 April 2011: ICP asks if Nambiar, given his role as described in the ICC filing, will be recused from Ban's decision making on what to do with the Sri Lanka report.

Complicity in White-flag killings

1. Video: Kohona denies whiteflag killings
2. Nambiar's Al Jazeera interview on whiteflag killings
3. ICC filings Nambiar as co-conspirator
4. Whiteflag murders
5. Alston questions whiteflag murders
6. ICP: Nambiar on whiteflag after Colvin's death

- Nambiar's role in Sri Lanka became more controversial as 2009 progressed, including him telling surrendering LTTE leaders that if they came out with a white flag they would be fine. They were, in fact, shot and killed -- at the order of the Rajapaksas, according to imprisoned General Sarath Fonseka.
- At one point in the ICP video Kohona spontaneously says Nambiar was at a reception while the surrendee discussion was taking place. Then Kohona appears to realize that his recollection was too good [and that he unwittingly exposed that he knew exactly what was happening when the killings were taking place], and claims that his memory is not very good. Claiming that he has no memory is a standard ruse to avoid criminal knowledge.
Communication with (now deceased) Marie Colvin before surrender agreement reveal Nambiar was not taking a proactive role to be present at the site of surrender because was at a reception (celebrating?)
- Nambiar says he was assured they would be treated like normal prisoners of war by Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and Palitha Kohona, currently Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN.
- May 25 2009: Mr. Nambiar's belated defense is that they may have been killed in crossfire or by the Tamil Tigers
- May 28, Mr. Kohona tells ICP he never provided such assurance. This account differs from what Nambiar told Al Jazeera
- Nambiar is named as possible co-conspirator in a war-crimes filing with the ICC by two Tamil groups. “a basis to question whether Vijay Nambiar was in fact an innocent neutral intermediary or in fact a co-perpetrator within the negotiation related community
- UN is mute to admission by Sarath Fonseka of orders by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to kill those who sought to surrender
- Mahinda Rajapaksa is named by the New Yorker as having personally approved the Nambiar negotiated surrenders which ended in death.

Nambiar and Petrie Report

1. ICP: Petrie-blacked out, Nambiar absence
2. Petrie Report

- Petrie report documents Holmes and Nambiar jointly pressuring Navi Pillay of UNHCR to desist from publishing estimated casualty figures that would put UN in to a “difficult terrain."
- Petrie report estimated that more than 80,000 civilians may have been killed in the Mu'l'livaaykkaal massacre.

Convergence of policy and beneficial family connections of India, Ban Ki Moon, Nambiar (Vijay, Satish)

1. Colombo media on Moon, Nambiar, India nexus
2. Bogollagama requests Nambiar's favor
3. Satish Nambiar's involvement in Sri Lanka

While nepotism in highlevel appointments to Indian-born ex-Army officer Siddarth Chatterjee who is Ban Ki Moon's son-in-law, Colombo papers speculated that India may also applying pressure on anti-Tamil struggle posture on SG through his son-in-law.
2. Nambiar nepotism followup: On March 5, ICP revealed that Sri Lanka's foreign minister wrote to Nambiar, seeking a job for his own son with the UN Secretariat, indicating close nexus between Colombo and Nambiar.
3. Brother of Vijay Nambiar was a paid defense consultant to Colombo during the early phases of the CeaseFire advising Colombo on LTTE's long-range capabilities.
4. As an Indian bureaucrat who held ambassadorial post to China, Nambiar cannot be impartial to India's anti-Tamil stand in the historical enmity to the LTTE after the Rajiv Ghandi assassination.

Source: UN video archives, Wikileaks, ICP Reports

Related Articles:
14.11.12   No mention of Nambiar in UN report: ICP
25.02.12   Nambiar opens mouth after killing of Marie Colvin
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11.04.11   UN served a ploy to surrender killings
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External Links:
Inner City Press: UN Report on Sri Lanka Has Portions Blacked Out, No Nambiar, More Spin?
ICP: On Sri Lanka War Crimes, UN's Ban to Name Panel to Advise Only Him, No Pascoe, Nambiar Nepotism Follow Up
RW: Jan 2013: Interview with Vijay Nambiar, Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Myanmar
ICP: On Sri Lanka at UN, Nambiar Said to Back Down to UK, Bloodbath Briefings
ICP: For UN's Sri Lanka Panel, Nambiar Meets with Kohona, "Two Foxes," Sources Say
ICP: UN's Nambiar Resists Briefing the Council on His "Confidential" Trip
ICP: At UN, Ban & Nambiar Meet Sri Lanka AG & General Silva, Despite Denials
ICP: Nambiar Partially Describes White Flag Killings
ICP: On Sri Lanka White Flag Murders, Nambiar Raised by Magazine, Dodged by UN
ICP: Sri Lanka War Crimes Filing with ICC Names UN Nambiar
ICP: On Sri Lankan Killings, As Alston Asks Rajapaksas, Why Not UN's Nambiar?
ICP: UN Sends Nambiar to Sri Lanka, Quiet Diplomacy
ICP: At UN, As Ban Gets Sri Lanka Report, Nambiar Conflict Called "Specious"
ICP: Sri Lanka's Kohona Denies Assuring UN's Nambiar
ICP: On Murders after Surrender, UN's Nambiar Muses on Crossfire
ICP: On Sri Lanka, UN Council "Waits for Nambiar"
ICP: At UN Screening on Sri Lanka Murders, Kohona Tells Press to Ask Nambiar, Silva Says It Was 53rd Div - Lies Agreed On



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