The European Union has warned member candidate Serbia that appointing a general who was convicted for war crimes as a lecturer at the country's military academy goes against the EU's principles.

Retired Gen. Vladimir Lazarevic was sentenced to 14 years in prison by a U.N. war crimes tribunal for atrocities committed by Serb troops in Kosovo during the 1998-99 war. He was released in 2015.

EU spokeswoman Maja Koncijancic said in a statement Monday to The Associated Press that "political leaders have to lead all efforts in overcoming the difficult legacy of the past and constructively foster mutual trust, dialogue and tolerance."

She says "Serbia, as (an EU) candidate country, cannot deviate from these principles. The appointment of a convicted war criminal to the Serbian Military Academy goes exactly against these principles."