Cancari Road 12 is a secondary mass grave, located in the village of Kamenica, 50 kilometres from the town of Srebrenica and some 13 kilometres from the city of Zvornik. There are 13 secondary mass graves in the Kamenica area containing the remains of victims of the July 1995 Srebrenica massacres by Bosnian Serb forces.
The Cancari Road 12 mass grave was exhumed in May 1998 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY. The remains of 174 people were found; 149 were identified.
DNA analysis conducted by the International Commission on Missing Persons showed connections between the secondary gravesite at Cancari Road 11 and the disturbed primary gravesite at Branjevo. According to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY’s forensic report on Srebrenica exhumations, this means that parts of the remains of some individuals were found at both the Branjevo and Cancari Road 12 sites.
The ICTY’s investigation also showed DNA connections between the Cancari Road 12 site and seven more gravesites in the same area (Cancari Road 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11). This indicates that as part of an attempted cover-up by Bosnian Serb forces, remains were dug up from the primary mass grave at Branjevo and moved to the village of Kamenica, 45 kilometres away. The other Cancari Road gravesites have been linked by DNA analysis to a primary grave at Kozluk, where Srebrenica massacre victims were also buried.
According to the ICTY’s report, the primary mass grave at Branjevo mass grave contained a total of 1,751 individuals.
The gravesites in Kamenica were discovered either in the yards of houses which belonged to Bosniaks, or in meadows next to the road. Cancari Road 12 is located in a meadow, next to a house and a corn field. The site remains unmarked. However, locals in Kamenica have marked several of the other gravesites in the area with memorial plaques honouring Srebrenica victims.
Forensic reports and witness testimonies at the ICTY, including testimony from people who were part of the killing squads, confirmed that most of the victims found in the Branjevo grave were killed at the Pilica Cultural Centre by Bosnian Serb forces in mid-July 1995.
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 more Bosniaks who were being detained there. 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 all wearing civilian clothes. The victims were then buried at Branjevo Military Farm and later reburied in secondary mass graves, including those at Cancari 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.