Liplje 1 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 June and July 2001 by the Bosnian Federal Commission for Missing Persons. The remains of 228 people were found; 148 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 Liplje 1 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 site is located next to a school which was used as a detention camp for local Bosniaks in 1992. On the road that leads to school, there are two memorial plaques, one for the Bosniaks detained in the camp, and the other for the ones killed in the villages of Snagovo, Liplje, Josanica, Samari, Sultanovici and Novo Selo in the period from 1992 to 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.