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Thom Karremans
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Military Personnel
    (December 29, 1948- )
    Born in Apeldoom, Netherlands
    Commanded a Dutch battalion of 450 men as part of the United Nations Protective Force in Bosnia
    Assigned to maintain a ‘safe area’ at Srebenicia
    One of his superiors, General Hans Kouzy, concluded that he did not focus fully on his military duties, due to the distraction of a messy divorce.
    He and his men stood aside as Serbian forces rounded up and deported 8,300 Bosnian men and boys who were later massacred (July 11-13, 1995).
    He was photographed joining Serbian commander Ratko Mladic in a toast.
    During interrogation by Mladic, he attempted to minimized his responsibility, pleading, ‘I’m only a piano player. Don’t shoot the piano player.’
    One commentator said of his subservient behavior towards Mladic, ‘If a tall man can look small, Karremans looks tiny.’
    He claimed to be unaware of the true intent of the Serbs until several days after the massacre occurred.
    His forces were outnumbered more than 10-to-1.
    A Serb blockade had left his forces desperately short on food and fuel.
    The UN mandate he was operating under limited the Dutch soldiers to firing over the heads of the Serbs, even if they were being attacked directly.
    He repeatedly requested air support from NATO, but their response was repeatedly delayed, with the only attack – by four fighter-bombers – coming the same day that Serb forces overran Srebenicia.
    A UN review concluded it had been a mistake to expect such a small force to be able to maintain the safe area (1999).
    He moved to Spain after receiving death threats.

Credit: C. Fishel

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