Published: Thu, November 30, 2017
Culture&Arts | By Darrell Mcdonald

War criminal Slobodan Praljak dies after drinking poison in court

War criminal Slobodan Praljak dies after drinking poison in court

Slobodan Praljak, 72, tilted back his head and took a swing from a flask or glass as a war-crimes judge at The Hague read out the verdict.

Slobodan Praljak said on Wednesday he "drank poison" seconds after United Nations appeals judges upheld his 20-year sentence for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims.

The suicide of Slobodan Praljak at the UN-mandated International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is a multifaceted scandal.

A lawyer for Praljak, a commander of ethnic Croatians during the 1990s war in Bosnia, said that his client had poisoned himself and emergency services rushed to the scene.

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Tribunal spokesman Nenad Golcevski, when asked by AP if he could confirm the death, said: "I have no information to share at this point".

After he drank the liquid a doctor was called for and an ambulance later seen arriving at the Hague. Croatian state TV later reported that Praljak had died. Judges did overturn some of his convictions, but refused to reduce his overall sentence.

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. "Defense minister" Bruno Stojic was sentenced to 20 years. He and five other former Bosnian Croat leaders had been accused of trying to ethnically cleanse parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and were found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes in 2013.

Wednesday's hearing was the final case at the groundbreaking tribunal before it closes its doors next month. It indicted 161 suspects and convicted 90 of them.

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