War criminal dies after drinking poison in United Nations court

30 November, 2017, 14:24 | Author: Tina Rodriquez
  • Former military commander Praljak drinking liquid International Criminal Tribunal. | AFP

A wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces "drank poison" during a hearing at the United Nations war crimes tribunal at which his 20-year prison sentence was upheld, his lawyer said.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic later confirmed that Praljak had died, saying in a government tweet, "On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and on my own behalf, I want to express my deepest condolences to the family of General Slobodan Praljak".

"My client says he drank poison this morning", defence attorney Natasa Faveau-Ivanovic said.

The case at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague came to an abrupt halt when Slobodan Praljak claimed to have taken poison from a small bottle. "I oppose this conviction".

After he drank the liquid a doctor was called for and an ambulance later seen arriving at the Hague.




Croatian state TV reported that President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic chose to cut short an official visit to Iceland and the government was holding an emergency session.

An official said the courtroom is now a crime scene.

The other suspects showed no emotion as Agius reconfirmed their sentences for their involvement in a campaign to drive Muslims out of a would-be Bosnian Croat ministate in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

Praljak - one of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders appearing before the appeal court - had been convicted of ordering the destruction of Mostar's 16th century bridge in November 1993.

Last week, the judges sentenced former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic to life in prison for genocide and crimes against humanity.

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