Hodzici Road 3

The Hodzici Road 3 mass grave is one of the seven that were found alongside a road near the village of Hozdici in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was discovered by NATO’s Stabilisation Force, SFOR in May 1998 as its personnel were doing repairs by the road. 

The exhumation of the gravesite was carried out by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY, and as a result 40 people were identified, all of them killed during the fall of the town of Srebrenica in July 1995. 

The Hodzici Road 3 mass grave is unmarked and lies on the right side of a minor road connecting the village of Hodzici with the city of Zvornik. 

The ICTY forensic team found 16 blindfolds in the gravesite. At least 20 people who were buried there died from gunshot wounds. Only male bodies were found at the site. 

The ICTY’s analysis also showed that Hodzici Road 3 is a secondary mass grave and the bodies found there can be linked with the primary mass grave Lazete 2. 

Bosniak men who had been captured following the fall of Srebrenica were transported on July 14, 1995 to the Grbavci school in the village of Orahovac then killed and buried in fields known as Lazete. Forensic analysis of soil and pollen samples, evidence and aerial images of creation and disturbance dates further revealed that bodies from the Lazete 1 and Lazete 2 graves were later removed and reburied at secondary graves along the Hodzici Road.

So far, the ICTY and domestic courts in the Balkans have sentenced a total of 47 people to more than 700 years in prison, plus five life sentences, for Srebrenica crimes.

Hodzici Road 1

Hodzici Road 1 is a secondary mass grave, located near the village of Snagovo, some 17 kilometres north-west of the Bosnian city of Zvornik. The grave was originally found by troops from NATO’s Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina, SFOR, in 1998, while diverting a road around a landslide. Overall, there are seven known mass graves in the area and all are secondary sites. 

The grave site was named Hodzici Road 1 because it is also close to the village of Hodzici. 

The gravesite remains unmarked and lies next to the road that leads to Hodzici.

Although initially discovered by the SFOR and investigators from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the exhumation was conducted in 2006 by the Bosnian Institute for Missing Persons. The site is also known as Snagovo 4. 

The exhumation in November 2006 resulted in the remains of 90 people being identified. All the victims are believed to have been Bosniaks killed by Bosnian Serb forces following the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995.

DNA analysis carried out by the International Commission on Missing Persons showed connections between this secondary gravesite and the Lazete 2 primary gravesite. According to the ICTY’s forensic report on Srebrenica exhumations, this means that the remains of one individual were found in at least two different graves. The report said that human remains were dug up at the Lazete 2 primary mass grave and then transferred to Hodzici Road, some 10 kilometres away. 

Bosniak men who had been captured were transported on July 14, 1995 to the Grbavci school in the village of Orahovac then killed and buried in fields known as Lazete. Forensic analysis of soil and pollen samples, evidence and aerial images of creation and disturbance dates further revealed that bodies from the Lazete 1 and Lazete 2 graves were later removed and reburied at secondary graves along the Hodzici Road.

So far, the ICTY and domestic courts in the Balkans have sentenced a total of 47 people to more than 700 years in prison, plus five life sentences, for Srebrenica crimes.

Cancari Road 13

The Cancari Road 13 mass grave is located in the village of Kamenica in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, near the city of Zvornik. 

The road has become known as the Valley of Death, as along this route, 13 mass graves have been found by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY and the Bosnian Institute for Missing Persons. 

This gravesite lies next to village houses and is marked with a memorial plaque.

The exhumation by the Bosnian Institute for Missing Persons in October 2002 revealed the remains of 61 people, who were all killed after the town of Srebrenica fell to the Bosnian Serb Army in July 1995. 

The bodies were reburied at the Cancari Road 13 mass grave in the autumn of 1995 after being dug up in an attempt to cover up the killings. They had initially been buried near execution sites in Srebrenica, Pilica, Kozluk, Bratunac and Zvornik in the days after July 15, 1995. Two months later, Bosnian Serb forces were ordered to remove the bodies and rebury them in more remote and hard-to-find locations.

So far, the ICTY and domestic courts in the Balkans have sentenced a total of 47 people to more than 700 years in prison, plus five life sentences, for Srebrenica crimes and cover-up operations.

Cancari Road 8

The Cancari Road 8 mass grave lies in a valley in the village of Kamenica, some ten kilometres north of the town of Zvornik in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is one of 13 secondary mass graves found along the village road, all linked with the killings of Bosniaks following the fall of Srebrenica  in 1995.

The gravesite lies unmarked, next to the village road and a small creek.

Cancari Road 8 was initially discovered in 1998 by investigators and anthropologists from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, but was only exhumed ten years later by the Bosnian Institute for Missing Persons. 

The exhumation was carried out in October and November 2008 and the remains of 51 people were identified. 

DNA analysis of the remains revealed that some body parts belonged to Esad Bektic, whose partial remains were also found in a mass grave in Branjevo. It is believed that many Srebrenica victims were initially killed in Branjevo in July 1995, buried there and then dug up again in the autumn and reburied along the Cancari Road. 

After the fall of Srebrenica to Bosnian Serb forces, captured Bosniaks were brought by buses to Branjevo Military Farm for execution. Survivors described being led in groups to a meadow littered with corpses and told to turn their backs. On July 16, 1995, soldiers at Branjevo Military Farm were ordered to go some five kilometres east to the Pilica Cultural Centre to kill around 500 Bosniaks who were being detained there. Firing and explosions could also be heard that afternoon in Pilica itself, coming from the direction of the Cultural Centre. No one survived the execution. The inside of the Pilica Cultural Centre was described as having corpses “piled up on each other, just lying there scattered all over the place”. The bodies – two of which were female – were then buried at Branjevo Military Farm. All the victims were dressed in civilian clothes.

So far, the ICTY and domestic courts in the Balkans have sentenced a total of 47 people to more than 700 years in prison, plus five life sentences, for Srebrenica crimes.

Nova Kasaba 99

This mass grave in Nova Kasaba is known as Nova Kasaba 99, a reference to the year 1999, when the gravesite was discovered by investigators from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY. 

The grave was dug by the same people who also dug another grave nearby that was found in 1996 and is known as Nova Kasaba 96. 

Nova Kasaba 99 is a primary mass grave. A total of 53 bodies that were found there have been identified, all of them linked with the killings of Bosniaks from Srebrenica in July 1995. 

The grave is not marked and lies next to the road in the village of Nova Kasaba. 

The mass grave is in four sections but investigators assessed it to be a single grave because the pits are so close to each other.

No blindfolds or ligatures were located in any of the sections. Almost 80 per cent of those found died of multiple gunshot wounds. The age of the victims ranges from 13 to 85 years.

The mass grave locations in the area received worldwide attention when US ambassador Madeleine Albright showed eight photographs of them at a UN Security Council session. These US satellite and aerial photographs taken around July 13 to 14, 1995 depicted people crowded onto a football field in the Nova Kasaba area. Several days later, U2 aircraft photography recorded an empty stadium, with four patches of freshly dug earth and truck tracks in a nearby field. 

“The reasons [the U.S. suspects there are mass graves] are five-fold. First, there is newly disturbed earth where refugees were known to be. Heavy vehicle tracks were there before. There is no apparent military industrial or agricultural reason for the tracks or disturbed earth. There are multiple confirming accounts from refugees. And there is no vegetation on the site,” said John Shattuck, US assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour. A year later, in 1996, the so-called Nova Kasaba 96 grave was found.

The bodies found in Nova Kasaba were mostly of Bosniak men from Srebrenica who were killed on the football pitch and in a nearby school in July 1995. 

So far, the ICTY and domestic courts in the Balkans have sentenced a total of 47 people to more than 700 years in prison, plus four life sentences, for Srebrenica crimes.

Cancari Road 1

The Cancari Road 1 grave is one of the 13 gravesites that were found along the road between the town of Zvornik and the village of Kamenica in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

The gravesite was initially discovered in 1998 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY and its chief archaeologist, Professor Richard Wright. However, the remains were only exhumed some ten years later by the Bosnian Institute for Missing Persons. The exhumation in July 2009 yielded the bodies of 53 people. The Institute for Missing Persons also renamed the gravesite Kamenica 14.

The mass grave is unmarked, on the right side of the road between a meadow and a river.

Most of the victims whose remains were found were killed after the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995. The Cancari Road 1 grave site, like all the other sites around the village of Kamenica, is a secondary mass grave. 

The ICTY investigation established that people found at the Cancari Road 1 site were killed in July 1995 in the nearby town of Kozluk, buried there and later reburied in Kamenica.

After the executions, the victims killed in Kozluk were covered with soil rather than being buried in pits. They were found wearing civilian clothes. Thousands of broken green glass bottles had been dumped before the execution happened, as well as labels from the nearby Vitinka water and soft drinks bottling factory, and this was one of the factors that helped to link the primary mass grave at Kozluk to the secondary mass graves at Cancari Road 1, Cancari Road 2, Cancari Road 3,  Cancari Road 7 and Cancari Road 13, as well as DNA analysis, soil analysis and the large number of bodies that had ligatures and blindfolds. 

So far, the ICTY and domestic courts in the Balkans have sentenced a total of 47 people to more than 700 years in prison, plus four life sentences, for Srebrenica crimes.

Gorice

The mass grave in the Gorice neighbourhood of the Bosnian city of Brcko was found in 2006 and it is the largest clandestine gravesite in the area. The Gorice mass grave contained 277 human remains, according to the International Commission on Missing Persons. So far, 136 individuals have been identified from the remains that were exhumed. 

The Gorice gravesite is located some ten kilometres north of the city, right on the banks of the River Sava. It is an abandoned field, marked with one plaque put up by locals, which says that remains of the Bosniaks and Croats killed in the area from 1992 to 1995 were found at the location. 

It is a secondary grave, and was dug by Bosnian Serb forces in order to conceal the bodies of those killed around the Brcko area at the beginning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and initially buried elsewhere. According to forensic reports, the mass grave was four metres deep.

From April 1992, Bosnian Serb forces fought to gain control over Brcko, which lies near the border with Croatia. With the assistance of local Serb authorities, Bosnian Serb troops expelled Croat and Bosniak residents from their homes and held them at detention centres where many were killed, tortured, beaten or otherwise mistreated.

Captives were illegally detained and abused at the Brcko police building, the local hospital, the Luka prison camp, the former Partizan sports building, and the Yugoslav People’s Army barracks. The crimes were committed by members of military, police and paramilitary forces.

Some of the executions were filmed by foreign journalists and caused worldwide condemnation. After that, the cover-up operation to hide victims’ bodies started.

Many court witnesses said that the bodies of those killed were transported from the detention centres to mass graves using trucks from the local Bimes meat factory. Near the factory, according to several witnesses, there was a primary mass grave used to dump the bodies during the early years of the war. Later, as the bodies started to pile up, they were dug up and re-buried in Gorice. Many witnesses also said a number of bodies were thrown into the River Sava.

Two Bosnian Serb fighters, Goran Jelisic and Ranko Cesic, pleaded guilty to crimes in Brcko at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. 

Jelisic, who described himself as the ‘Serbian Adolf’, was a senior guard at the Luka detention camp. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, and the Hague court’s verdict described his behaviour as “repugnant, bestial and sadistic”. Cesic, who was a police officer, was sentenced to 18 years for murder and rape. 

At the Bosnian state court, there is also an ongoing case against Djordje Ristanic, who was president of the Brcko wartime presidency and is charged with taking part in a joint criminal enterprise to persecute Bosniak and Croat civilians in the area from April to December 1992.

Ristanic is also charged with the rape and sexual abuse of both men and women at detention centres in Brcko and with the destruction of mosques in the area.

Ogradice

The Ogradice mass grave was discovered in 2003, some 20 kilometres from the town of Vlasenica in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Lying up in the hills, at the end of an often inaccessible road and in a deep forest, the mass grave remains unmarked. 

Forensic teams identified 155 bodies that were found at the gravesite, most of them Bosniak victims of crimes committed in the Vlasenica area in 1992 and 1993. 

According to the University of Sarajevo Institute for Researching Crimes against Humanity and International Law, a total of 12 mass graves have been found in the Vlasnica municipality containing victims of violence in 1992 and 1993. A total of 436 bodies were discovered at these locations, 232 of them at the Ogradice grave. 

Killings, torture and rape in Vlasenica were the subject of one of the first cases at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, where Dragan Nikolic, who commanded the infamous detention camp Susica in the town, was the first indictee in 1994. 

Nikolic pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison for crimes against humanity that included persecution on political, racial and religious grounds, murder, sexual violence and torture at Susica. Many of the Susica victims were found in the Ogradice mass grave. 

Nikolic, alias Jenki, subjected Bosniaks and other non-Serb detainees to murder, rape and torture and participated in creating and maintaining an atmosphere of terror in the camp, the verdict found.

Nikolic punched, kicked and beat the detainees with weapons such as wooden bats, iron bars, axe handles, rifle butts, metal knuckles, metal pipes, truncheons and rubber tubing with lead inside. The injuries inflicted during the beatings were sometimes fatal. 

He also personally removed and facilitated the removal of female detainees from the hangar where they were interned, in the knowledge that they were being taken away to be raped or sexually abused. He told the UN court that he felt “shame and disgrace” about what he did.

Between late May and October 1992, as many as 8,000 Bosniak civilians and other non-Serbs from Vlasenica and the surrounding villages had been detained at the Susica camp. The building was severely overcrowded and living conditions were deplorable. 

Survivors and families of the Susica victims organise an annual commemorative march from the village of Turajlici to the mass graves at Ogradice and Debelo Brdo, ending in front of the former camp. 

Liplje 2

Liplje 2 is a secondary mass grave, located in the village of Liplje, eight kilometres south-west of the city of Zvornik. The site was exhumed in August 1998 by a team from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY.   The remains of 191 people were found; 163 were identified.

The DNA analysis showed connections between this secondary gravesite and a disturbed primary gravesite at Petkovci Dam. A forensics report by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY on Srebrenica exhumations said that this means that the remains of one individual were found in at least two different graves. The investigation also showed DNA connections between the site and four more gravesites in the same area. This indicates that remains that were dug up and removed from the primary mass grave at Petkovci Dam were transported to Liplje, 20 kilometres away. 

The gravesite is located on a meadow, surrounded by a few houses and a small bridge, and is close to the Liplje 1 gravesite. Next to the gravesite there are two memorial plaques, one honouring the Bosniaks who were held in a detention camp in the village in 1992, and the other commemorating people who were killed in the villages of Snagovo, Liplje, Josanica, Sumari, Sultanovici and Novo Selo between 1992 and 1995. The gravesite itself remains unmarked. 

On July 14, 1995, Bosnian Serb Army and police personnel transported approximately 1,000 Bosniak men from Srebrenica from detention sites in and around Bratunac to a school at Petkovci, ten kilometres from Zvornik. On July 14, 1995 and in the early morning hours of July 15, Bosnian Serb troops and police assaulted and shot men being detained at the school.

Around July 14, 1995 and in the early morning hours of July 15, personnel from the Bosnian Serb Army’s Zvornik Brigade including drivers and trucks from the Sixth Infantry Battalion transported the surviving Bosniak men from the school at Petkovci to an area below the Petkovci Dam. They were then summarily executed by Bosnian Serb Army soldiers and police with automatic weapons. In the morning of July 15, personnel from the Zvornik Brigade’s Engineering Company, working with other individuals and units, used excavators and other heavy equipment to bury the victims while the executions continued.

A man who hid beneath dead bodies to avoid execution at the dam told the trial of former Bosnian Serb Army general Ratko Mladic at the ICTY that when he was brought to Petkovci, the field under the dam was “already covered in bodies”. The witness, who testified under the codename RM-253, said he dropped to the ground as soon as soldiers opened fire on his group and hid his head underneath the legs of some prisoners who were already dead, hoping to survive.

While RM-253 and another survivor were hiding, they saw “a truck which was collecting bodies and loading them onto a tractor, which then transported them away from the killing field”. 

So far, the ICTY and domestic courts in the Balkans have sentenced a total of 47 people to more than 700 years in prison, plus five life sentences, for Srebrenica crimes. 

Liplje 4

Liplje 4 is a secondary mass grave, located in the village of Liplje, eight kilometres south-west of the city of Zvornik. The site was exhumed in October and November 2001 by the Bosnian Federal Commission for Missing Persons.  The remains of 305 people were found; 269 were identified.

The DNA analysis showed connections between this secondary gravesite and a disturbed primary gravesite at Petkovci Dam. A forensics report by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY on Srebrenica exhumations said that this means that the remains of one individual were found in at least two different graves. The investigation also showed DNA connections between the site and four more gravesites in the same area. This indicates that remains that were dug up and removed from the primary mass grave at Petkovci Dam were transported to Liplje, 20 kilometres away. 

The Liplje 4 gravesite is located on a meadow, next to a road and a house that was destroyed during the war. The site remains unmarked. 

On July 14, 1995, Bosnian Serb Army and police personnel transported approximately 1,000 Bosniak men from Srebrenica from detention sites in and around Bratunac to a school at Petkovci, ten kilometres from Zvornik. On July 14, 1995 and in the early morning hours of July 15, Bosnian Serb troops and police assaulted and shot men being detained at the school.

Around July 14, 1995 and in the early morning hours of July 15, personnel from the Bosnian Serb Army’s Zvornik Brigade including drivers and trucks from the Sixth Infantry Battalion transported the surviving Bosniak men from the school at Petkovci to an area below the Petkovci Dam. They were then summarily executed by Bosnian Serb Army soldiers and police with automatic weapons. In the morning of July 15, personnel from the Zvornik Brigade’s Engineering Company, working with other individuals and units, used excavators and other heavy equipment to bury the victims while the executions continued.

A man who hid beneath dead bodies to avoid execution at the dam told the trial of former Bosnian Serb Army general Ratko Mladic at the ICTY that when he was brought to Petkovci, the field under the dam was “already covered in bodies”. The witness, who testified under the codename RM-253, said he dropped to the ground as soon as soldiers opened fire on his group and hid his head underneath the legs of some prisoners who were already dead, hoping to survive.

While RM-253 and another survivor were hiding, they saw “a truck which was collecting bodies and loading them onto a tractor, which then transported them away from the killing field”. 

So far, the ICTY and domestic courts in the Balkans have sentenced a total of 47 people to more than 700 years in prison, plus five life sentences, for Srebrenica crimes.