War criminal Slobodan Praljak dies after drinking poison in court

30 Novembre, 2017, 13:18 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • Slobodan Praljak brings a bottle to his lips during a Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague Netherlands

A United Nations war crimes appeal trial was suspended on Wednesday after a former Croatian general claimed to have drank poison upon being sentenced to 20 years in jail.

He was appealing his punishment before Wednesday's hearing confirmed his 20 year sentence for involvement in driving out Bosnian Muslims of a potential Bosnian Croat state.

After Praljak drank the poison, presiding judge Carmel Agius immediately suspended the proceedings and an ambulance was called. Slobodan Praljak, 72, shouted a declaration that he is not a war criminal before downing an unknown substance from a small bottle.

Slobodan Praljak, a former Bosnian Croat official who was on trial Wednesday at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, has reportedly died after drinking poison.

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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.

They were attending the final appeals judgment to be handed down by the court, the BBC report said. Judges did overturn some of his convictions, but refused to reduce his overall sentence. He was originally sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2013. Medical staff arrived to the scene soon after.

Praljak's case was one of the last to be decided at a tribunal for ethnic war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, the worst outbreak of violence in Europe since the end of World War II.

The appeals judges upheld a key finding that late Croat President Franjo Tudjman was a member of a plan to create a Croat mini-state in Bosnia, but that finding, which angered Croat leaders, was largely overshadowed by Praljak.

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