Kozluk is a primary mass grave of Bosniaks from Srebrenica, near the village of Kozluk, 15 kilometers north-east of the city of Zvornik. The site is approached by а road that passes the Vitinka soft-drink bottling factory in Kozluk. The road degenerates into а track as it reaches an area used for rubbish dumps and gravel extraction by the River Drina. The gravesite remains unmarked.
In 1998, investigators from the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia visited the site and discovered disturbed soil. They returned in June 1999 and began the process of exhumation. DNA examinations bу the International Committee on Missing Persons indicated that there were 341 victims in the Kozluk grave. However, investigations concluded that before the exhumation started, some bodies had been removed from the grave as part of attempts by the Bosnian Serb Army to cover up the killings.
After execution, the victims killed at the Kozluk site 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 secondary mass graves at Cancari Road 1 (Kamenica 14), 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.
The ICTY judgment in the trial of Dragan Jokic, Chief of Engineering for the Zvornik Brigade, and Vidoje Blagojevic, commander of the Bratunac Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, said that on or about July 15 or 16, 1995, Bosnian Serb Army military personnel, under the command and control of commanders Ratko Mladic, Radislav Krstic and others, transported approximately 500 Bosniak males to an isolated place near Kozluk, which was inside the Zvornik Brigade’s zone of responsibility. They were then summarily executed by Bosnian Serb military personnel with automatic weapons. On or about July 16, 1995, military personnel from the Zvornik Brigade’s Engineering Company, again controlled by Mladic, Krstic and others, buried the victims in a mass grave at the site. Jokic assisted in the planning, monitoring, organising and carrying out of the burials.
Blagojevic was sentenced to 15 years in prison for aiding and abetting the murder and persecution of Bosniaks, including those executed at Kozluk. Jokic was sentenced to nine years in prison for the murders of Bosniaks at locations including Kozluk, and for providing engineering resources and personnel to dig graves for the victims.
The ICTY’s trial chamber also found that Vujadin Popovic, chief of security with the Bosnian Serb Army’s Drina Corps, knew about the operation to kill the Bosniaks, and organised it with Ljubisa Beara, chief of security with the Bosnian Serb Army’s main headquarters, and Drago Nikolic, a security officer with the Bosnian Serb Army’s Zvornik Brigade. Popovic was present when the executions were carried out at Kozluk, as well as at another killing site in Orahovac. Popovic, Beara and Nikolic were all convicted by the ICTY of involvement in the genocide of Bosniaks from Srebrenica.
Srecko Acimovic, commander of the Bosnian Serb Army Zvornik Brigade’s Second Battalion, acting on orders received from the Zvornik Brigade’s command, provided ammunition and issued an order to transport the prisoners to the banks of the Drina River in Kozluk, where they were killed and buried. Acimovic was sentenced by the Bosnian state court to nine years in prison for assisting the genocide.
In 2015, in the fourth exhumation at Kozluk, a new gravesite was found and the remains of a further 55 people discovered – 15 complete and 40 incomplete bodies. As some remains were transferred from the Kozluk site to other locations, the search for at least 200 more bodies continues.