In the early hours of 15 July, a Caterpillar bulldozer and a ULT 160 loader belonging to the Engineering Company of the Zvornik Brigade collected bodies from the execution site—10 to 15 at a time—and deposited them onto a tractor with a trailer. Forensic analysis showed that the bodies removed from the gravesite adjacent to the Petkovci Dam were reburied at Liplje 2.
Ročević School and Drina River near Kozluk
On 14 July 1995, buses carrying Bosnian Muslim males who had been previously detained in various sites in and around Bratunac, arrived at the Ročević School. When Popović arrived at the school in the afternoon, he found Bosnian Muslim detainees inside the school’s gymnasium. On the evening of 14 July, five to seven members of the Bratunac Brigade MP set off from Bratunac towards Ročević School. Upon arriving, they encountered other members of the Bratunac Brigade who had been tasked with guarding the Bosnian Muslims detained inside the school building and the adjacent gymnasium. Between 8 and 9 p.m. on 14 July, Srećko Aćimović—the Commander of the Zvornik Brigade’s 2nd Battalion—was informed by the priest and the president of the Ročević local commune that detainees were being held at the Ročević School and were being killed. Aćimović headed to the school immediately and, upon entering the school yard, heard detainees inside the gymnasium screaming for water and asking to go to the bathroom. Aćimović also encountered soldiers unknown to him behaving erratically, seemingly under the influence of narcotics or alcohol. Aćimović left approximately half an hour later to inform the Zvornik Brigade about the situation at Ročević School. Sometime between 1 and 2 a.m. on 15 July, an encrypted telegram from the Zvornik Brigade Command was received over the phone, with the order to dispatch a platoon of soldiers from the 2nd Battalion to the Ročević School “for the execution of the prisoners”. Once the telegram had been decoded, Aćimović discussed it with two close associates in the 2nd Battalion, namely Vujo Lazarević—the Assistant Battalion Commander for Morale and Religious Affairs— and Mitar Lazarević—the Officer for General Services—, and together decided that no personnel would be assigned to the task. He then sent a response telegram to the Zvornik Brigade, indicating that the 2nd Battalion did not have any personnel available to execute the detainees. According to Aćimović, a second telegram was received with the same content approximately 45 minutes to an hour later. Aćimović again consulted with his associates, Vujo and Mitar Lazarević, and decided to disobey the order, sending yet another response telegram to the Zvornik Brigade. Approximately ten minutes later, at around 2.30 a.m., Aćimović received a phone call from Drago Nikolić telling him that the order “had come from above” and that it had to be carried out. Aćimović refused, yet again, to assign the task to anyone. Nikolić insisted that Aćimović was to dispatch his men by 7 a.m., around which time they would speak again. Around 7 or 8 a.m., Drago Nikolić called again and asked Aćimović whether the order had been executed, adding that, if Aćimović was unable to put a group of men together, Aćimović and his associates should carry out the executions themselves. Aćimović was then ordered by an angry Drago Nikolić to meet him at the Ročević School at 9 or 10 a.m. Aćimović drove to the Ročević School between 9 and 10 a.m. but Drago Nikolić was not there. Between 15 and 20 VRS MP soldiers were in front of the gymnasium and behind the school. Aćimović also saw at least a dozen bodies lying on the ground. Aćimović met Popović in front of the school, and together they walked to an office inside the school. Popović shouted at Aćimović, asking why he had not brought any soldiers as ordered. Popović continued putting pressure on Aćimović to get men, and threatened that he would be held responsible for not following the order. Popović then called the Zvornik Brigade Duty Officer and asked that vehicles, as well as either Trbić or Jasikovac, be sent to Ročević urgently. Veljko Ivanović—a driver for the 2nd Battalion—was ordered by Mitar Lazarević to be on duty and to work out of the Standard Barracks for as long as necessary after the fall of Srebrenica.At around 11:15 a.m. on 15 July, while at the Standard Barracks, an order from Aćimović was conveyed to Ivanović to take three crates of ammunition for automatic rifles to Ročević School. Ivanović set out towards Ročević driving a Mercedes T 170 belonging to the 2 nd Battalion, and arrived soon after. According to Aćimović, Popović became angry when only a single truck arrived. Popović then stated that the detainees would have to be killed “somewhere nearby, near the school, and that they should all be killed in Ročević”. He ordered Aćimović to call the drivers of six or seven civilian trucks and to bring them to the school. Fifteen to 20 minutes later, when Djoko Nikolić—another driver for the 2nd Battalion—arrived in a TAM 2001 truck which could only accommodate about 15 people, Popović again became upset. According to Aćimović, Dragan Jović—a member of the 2nd Battalion who was present at the school at the time—then offered to secure another vehicle. Jović testified, however, that it was Aćimović who ordered him to find volunteers to execute the detainees, and to fetch a civilian truck. Aćimović went to the schoolyard to see whether he could find anybody willing to take part in the killings. At around 11 a.m. Jasikovac arrived at the Ročević School together with other members of the Zvornik Brigade MP. Other members of the Zvornik Brigade were also present at the school. Jasikovac ordered his men to secure the facility and the detainees held there. Some members of the Zvornik Brigade MP were also ordered to secure the entrance of the school in order to prevent angry Bosnian Serb civilians threatening to harm the detainees from approaching them. By this time, approximately 1,000 detainees were being held at the school, and a couple of bodies of Bosnian Muslim detainees could still be seen lying outside. Around noon on 15 July 1995, KDZ496—who was 15 years old at the time and was wearing civilian clothes—went towards the asphalt road near his home in Zvornik municipality; there, he encountered a member of the 2nd Battalion who told him to go with him by car to Ročević where Bosnian Muslim men were being held prisoners. KDZ496 arrived at the Ročević School between 12 and 1 p.m., was brought before Popović and Aćimović by one of his soldiers guarding the detainees, and presented himself as a volunteer to participate in the executions. Aćimović ordered Ivanović and Jović to transport the detainees to the execution site near Kozluk, and left soon after. Ivanović, Djoko Nikolić, and Jović were left behind.
The killings at the Drina River near Kozluk
The transportation of the detainees from the Ročević School by members of the 2nd Battalion—including Jović, Ivanović, Djoko Nikolić, and at least two other soldiers—began at around 2 or 3 p.m., and continued over the course of the afternoon. Aćimović ordered Ivanović to reverse the Mercedes T 170 truck close to the door of the school, and planks were placed to serve as a ramp. The three crates of ammunition that Ivanović had brought earlier from the Standard Barracks were placed inside a passenger vehicle. The loading of Bosnian Muslim detainees from the school onto the Mercedes truck then began. The first group of detainees were blindfolded, with their hands and legs bound, but as they were unable to walk along the narrow planks, the ligatures and blindfolds were ultimately removed. During the whole process, the detainees appeared “half dead” and exhausted; none of them pleaded for their lives. Once the loading of the first batch of detainees was completed, Ivanović and Jović set off in the direction of the execution site, which was adjacent to the Drina River near the village of Kozluk, less than four kilometres away from Ročević School. KDZ496 and three to four members of the MP—all of them armed—were also at the back of the truck. The trucks travelled six kilometres from the school to Kozluk and a further three kilometres to the execution site on a very poorly maintained road. The trip between Ročević and Kozluk took approximately 20 minutes. The trucks progressed as close as possible to the execution site and then reversed into a predug hole. The detainees were then ordered to jump off the truck and into the hole. Shooters formed two parallel lines on each side of the hole. All of the shooters wore multicoloured uniforms and balaclavas, while some also wore white belts. The detainees were shot from both sides as they exited the truck into the pit. The shooting was carried out in a disorganised and confused fashion to the point that it appeared as if the shooters might end up shooting each other. Wounded detainees tried to flee by going into the Drina River and grabbing the shrubbery, all the while coming under fire. A young boy begged for his life to be spared, but was nevertheless killed. Once the detainees held inside the school had been taken to the execution site, the loading of the detainees held at the gymnasium began. By this point, additional members of the VRS, including the MP, had arrived at the execution site at Kozluk. By dusk, all the detainees had been transported from the Ročević School to the killing site.
On the morning of 16 July, Damjan Lazarević was ordered by either Bogičević or Vojkan Sekonjić—the Engineering Company’s desk officer—to go to Kozluk to bury the people who had been executed at that location. Miloš Mitrović—another member of the Engineering Company—was also ordered to take a small skip excavator to the execution site. Between 7 and 27 September 1995, and as part of the reburial operation to conceal the Srebrenica killings which will be discussed in detail below, the bodies initially buried at Kozluk were exhumed, transported, and reburied at some of the Čančari Road secondary gravesites
Detention at Kula School
The Kula School––also known as the Nikola Tesla Primary School or Pilica School––is located in Kula, a hamlet in the village of Pilica.
On 15 July, additional members of the 1st Battalion were sent by Perić to the school; this brought the total number of soldiers at the school at that time to between 40 and 50. A man who was addressed as a “lieutenant-colonel or colonel” and wore a camouflage uniform also visited the school that day, as did Jasikovac. Rajko Babić, a member of the 1st Battalion, asked the lieutenant-colonel or colonel if any of the detainees would stay at the school but was told: “No, they can’t stay, they have to be taken away, all of them. I don’t want to talk to you anymore.” Babić interpreted the comment made by the lieutenant-colonel or colonel to mean that all of the Bosnian Muslim detainees would be killed. Throughout this time, many detainees were taken out of the school by members of the Bosnian Serb Forces. Screaming and moaning could then be heard, followed by bursts of gunfire, after which the screaming stopped. Only some detainees returned. This went on constantly, day and night. Detainees did not dare look out of the windows to see what was happening because whenever someone tried to do so, the guards would shoot a burst of gunfire. The bodies of detainees killed by members of the Bosnian Serb Forces while trying to escape during the night could be seen lying around the school. Members of the Bosnian Serb Forces took jewellery, watches, and money from the detainees. Soldiers also requested 10,000 German marks from each detainee and warned them that if they did not manage to collect that sum they would all be killed; the soldiers returned twice for money but the detainees had none left.