General Dragan Zivanovic testifies in the defense of Vladimir Lazarevic, his former commander. He has already given evidence at the trial of Haradinaj, Balaj and Brahimaj as a prosecution witness. Today he repeated the allegations about KLA crimes and VJ's impeccable treatment of civilians in Kosovo. Each soldier carried on his person a 'pocket edition' of Geneva Conventions, he says

Dragan Zivanovic, defense witness for Vladimir LazarevicDragan Zivanovic, defense witness for Vladimir Lazarevic

Dejan Zivanovic, former commander of the 125th Motorized Brigade, testified today in the defense of General Vladimir Lazarevic, on trial for Kosovo crimes in 1999. Zivanovic repeated some of the things he said in his evidence in October 2007 at the trial of Ramush Haradinaj and two other KLA commanders. Zivanovic was a prosecution witness at that trial. Today he accused 'Albanian terrorists' of a series of crimes committed in the Dukagjin area in 1998 and 1999. The 'VJ had to respond’, he said.

No organized crimes against Albanians civilians were committed in these military operations, the witness said. Isolated crimes were prosecuted, the witness added, but didn't elaborate. In his effort to prove that the military leadership acted 'preventively', Zivanovic said that every VJ soldier received a 'laminated pocket book' with all provisions of the international law and Geneva conventions on the eve of the conflict. Also, courses were organized for VJ officers where they were taught about those provisions in detail.

Zivanovic claims that general Lazarevic never gave him any written or oral orders to commit any crimes; other Pristina Corps officers who have testified in the defense of their former commander have said the same thing. On the contrary, he said, Lazarevic insisted on the protection of civilians and international observers on Kosovo before NATO launched its air strike campaign.

Zivanovic will be cross-examined by the prosecution tomorrow.