Zeleni Jadar is an area some 20 kilometres south of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia where at least seven clandestine gravesites were found, all of them secondary mass graves connected with the attempted cover-up of the July 1995 Srebrenica massacres.
The Zeleni Jadar 6 mass grave was discovered in 2001 and the remains of 135 people were exhumed.
From Srebrenica, it is a half-hour drive to the hills of Zeleni Jadar, where unmarked gravesites lie on both the left and right sides of the road, in forests and fields.
According to the report compiled by investigators from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, most of the victims buried at the site were male, aged from eight to 65 years old. Six of them were 17 or under. Clothing was still present on most of the bodies, while some had signs of burning. The vast majority were found to have died from gunshot injuries. Only a few personal belongings were found – watches and smoking-related items. The primary mass grave from which human remains were moved to Zeleni Jadar 6 was the one at Glogova, located close to the town of Bratunac.
As at the Zeleni Jadar 5 mass grave, concrete, plaster and other building materials detected in the grave matched those from a warehouse at a farm in Kravica, close to the town of Bratunac. On July 13 and 14, 1995, Bosnian Serb forces killed 1,313 Bosniaks from Srebrenica in Kravica.
After the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995, more than 7,000 Bosniak men were killed and most of them buried in July in six primary mass graves: Branjevo, Kozluk, the Petkovci Dam, Cerska, Orahovac and Glogova. During September and October 1995, the primary graves at these locations were dug up by Bosnian Serb forces and the bodies were reburied in secondary graves in an attempt to cover up the crimes.
The exhumation and transfer of corpses from Glogova to Zeleni Jadar took place at night over a period of time between August 24 and October 23, 1995. Following instructions from Bosnian Serb Army commanders Vujadin Popovic and Vidoje Blagojevic, another high-ranking officer with the Bosnian Serb Army, Momir Nikolic, assisted in the exhumation and reburial operation.
The reburial operation was dubbed ‘asanacija’ in Serbian, meaning hygiene and sanitation measures. According to Nikolic, ‘asanacija’ normally involved the removal and burial of dead bodies from a battlefield, but in this case, the term referred to the relocation of the bodies buried in Glogova to smaller secondary graves in the area surrounding Srebrenica, Zeleni Jadar in particular. The operation was supposed to be a covert one but was carried out openly and required the involvement of a lot of manpower, resources, assets and vehicles.
The Bratunac Brigade Military Police secured the road from Bratunac to Srebrenica in order to facilitate the movement of the vehicles through inhabited areas. They also secured the grave sites as workers from the Municipal Staff for Civilian Protection of Bratunac did the digging work. Civilian police officers were involved as well. An excavator loader and a backhoe excavator were used for the digging and four to five trucks were used to transport the bodies from Glogova to Zeleni Jadar.
For these and other crimes related to the killings in Srebrenica, 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.