Retired Yugoslav Army (VS) General Vladimir Lazarevic is on Thursday holding his first lecture at the Military Academy in Belgrade.
Lazarevic is a former commander of the Pristina Corps and the VJ Third Army, who was found guilty by the Hague Tribunal for command responsibility for war crimes.
According to the daily Vecernje Novosti, he stated that it was an honor for him to teach at the academy.
“I was never hiding during the (1999) NATO aggression, and I’m not hiding now. When I see who is criticizing the engagement of former VJ generals (as lecturers), everything becomes clear to me: dogs bark, the wind carries…,” Lazarevic told the newspaper earlier.
He also said that he first heard the idea to become a lecturer immediately upon returning to Serbia from The Hague in December 2015, from then defense and justice ministers Bratislav Gasic and Nikola Selakovic.
According to a recent article published by the newspaper, besides Lazarevic, other new lecturers will include retired general and member of the Serb Radical Party, Bozidar Delić, and the current chief of the Serbian Army’s General Staff, General Ljubisa Dikovic.
Reuters also reported about Lazarevic and his new job in an article entitled, “War criminal or role model? It’s a thin line in Serbia.”
“Where a war crimes conviction might count as a minus in most countries, in Serbia it has become a badge of honor,” said the agency.
Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin also caused a commotion by saying that generals and senior officers who had command roles during the conflict in Kosovo, including Lazarevic, are “extraordinary people.”
Among those who reacted was US Ambassador Kyle Scott who on Twitter linked to a Washington Post articled headlined, “Serbian defense minister praises convicted war criminal”, and added: “Unfortunately, months of work to improve Serbia’s image in the US can be undermined with one statement.”