War criminal dies after drinking poison in United Nations court

Marie Harrington
November 30, 2017

Slobodan Praljak, 72, shouted a declaration that he is not a war criminal before downing an unknown substance from a small bottle.

A wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces said on Wednesday he "drank poison" seconds after United Nations appeals judges upheld his 20-year sentence for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims.

Praljak tilted back his head and took a swing from a flask or glass as the judge delivered the verdict. Later, a court spokesman said he was still alive and was being treated.

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

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Several convictions for specific crimes for Prlic and the other defendants were reversed in an appeal, but the presiding judge said "all six remain convicted of numerous and very serious crimes".

Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian leader, died of a heart attack in his jail cell in 2006, while his own ICTY trial was underway. "Defense minister" Bruno Stojic was sentenced to 20 years. First: how did Praljak, a former Bosnian Croat soldier found guilty of war crimes against Bosnian Muslims in 1993, smuggle poison into the courtroom?

Independent reported Praljak was originally sentenced in 2013 for his involvement in a campaign to drive Muslims out of a would-be Bosnian Croat mini-state in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

The hearing was halted, and a court guard told reporters that Praljak was "receiving medical attention", says The Daily Telegraph. In fact, he was a Bosnian Croat commander with a militia operating in Bosnia.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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