Lazete 2 (also known as Orahovac 2) is a primary mass grave, located close to the Lazete 1 gravesite, near the village of Orahovac, north-west of the city of Zvornik. Lazete 2 was partly exhumed by a joint team from the prosecutor’s office at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and Physicians for Human Rights between August 19 and September 9, 1996, and the exhumation was completed in 2000.
Analysis bу the International Commission on Missing Persons indicated that there were 188 war victims buried there, all of them male, ranging from 13 to 70 years of age at the time of their deaths. The vast majority died of gunshot wounds.
Twenty-one individuals listed as missing after Bosnian Serb forces took Srebrenica were positively identified during the first exhumation of the Lazete 2 gravesite; all of them were Bosniak men. Identification documents for a further four men listed as missing following the fall of Srebrenica were uncovered during exhumations at the site in 2000. In 1996, investigators also uncovered numerous strips of cloth at a dump in the grounds of the Grbavci school. The cloth strips were indistinguishable from the blindfolds uncovered during the exhumation of the Lazete 2 gravesite.
The location of the mass grave is now an unmarked meadow, next to a cornfield and a railway line.
Bosniak men who had been captured from a column of men fleeing Srebrenica after it fell or who had been separated from women and children in Potocari near Srebrenica were transported on July 14, 1995 to the Grbavci school in the village of Orahovac. Forensic analysis of soil/pollen samples, evidence and aerial images of creation/disturbance dates, further revealed that bodies from the Lazete-1 and Lazete 2 graves were later removed and reburied at secondary graves named Hodzici Road 3, 4 and 5 some ten kilometres away.
A protected ICTY witness codenamed PW 101, a Bosnian Serb Army soldier, recalled that at one point during the execution of one group of men, a boy who he thought was about five or six years old stood up from the pile of bodies and began to move towards the soldiers, calling for his father. The boy was in shock and covered with blood stains and human tissue, and the soldiers lowered their rifles and froze. Their supervisor turned to them soldiers and asked what they were waiting for, telling them to “finish him off”. The soldiers replied that the “lieutenant colonel or colonel” had a weapon and that he should do it himself because they could not. The “lieutenant colonel or colonel” then ordered the soldiers to take the boy away and bring him back with the next batch of men to be killed. However, the boy was taken instead to a hospital in Zvornik, where he received treatment and ultimately survived.
During former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic’s trial, a protected ICTY witness codenamed RM-313 said that he survived the shooting of Srebrenica Bosniaks, including his father, in Orahovac in July 1995, and that he was seven years old at the time.
The ICTY found that in the early afternoon of July 14, 1995, Bosnian Serb Army Zvornik Brigade personnel under the supervision of Drago Nikolic and Milorad Trbic transported the Bosniak men from the Grbavci School in Orahovac to a nearby field, where personnel, including members of the 4th Battalion of the Zvornik Brigade, summarily executed them with automatic weapons.
Nikolic accompanied the trucks to and from the execution field on several occasions, while Trbic personally executed several of the victims at the field. Approximately 1,000 Bosniaks were killed. On July 14 and 15, 1995, members of the Zvornik Brigade Engineering Company used heavy equipment to bury the victims in mass graves at the execution site.
The ICTY’s trial chamber found Radislav Krstic, the Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Drina Corps, guilty of genocide – its first verdict establishing that genocide was committed against Bosniaks from Srebrenica. He was sentenced to 46 years in prison although the sentence was subsequently shortened to 35 years.
The ICTY also found that Ljubisa Beara, the chief of security of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Main Staff, was told to organise, coordinate and facilitate the detention, transportation, summary execution and burial of the Bosniak victims murdered at Orahovac. Beara was assisted by Vujadin Popovic, Drago Nikolic and Milorad Trbic, among others.
Beara, Popovic, Nikolic and Trbic were found to have supervised, facilitated and overseen the Orahovac executions, and the ICTY convicted them of genocide. Vidoje Blagojevic, commander of the Bratunac Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for aiding and abetting the murder and persecution of Bosniaks in the Srebrenica area, as well as aiding and abetting the murder of Bosniaks in Bratunac. Dragan Jokic, chief of engineering of the Zvornik Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, was sentenced to nine years in prison for the murders of Bosniaks in Orahovac, at the Branjevo Military Farm in Pilica and in Kozluk, and for providing engineering resources and personnel to dig mass graves for the executed victims.
Former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic was sentenced to life imprisonment under a first-instance verdict for the genocide of Bosniaks from Srebrenica, among other crimes.