War criminal Slobodan Praljak 'dies after taking poison' in court

UN war crimes defendant claims to have taken poison in court

UN war crimes defendant claims to have taken poison in court

Wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces, Slobodan Praljak, 72, sipped a toxic liquid during a hearing at the United Nations war crimes tribunal on Wednesday after his 20-year prison sentence was upheld, his lawyer said.

Appeals judges also upheld the convictions of six other Bosnian Croats found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1990s. Praljak then proceeded to drink from the glass and announced that he had taken poison, according to the BBC.

A screengrab purporting to show wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces Slobodan Praljak drinking what he said was poison in court.

UN war crimes defendant claims to have taken poison in court

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

Judge Carmel Agius, who had urged the defendant to sit down, put a halt to the hearing as calls were made for an ambulance.

Later, a court spokesman said he was still alive and was being treated. It said Praljak "was transported to a nearby hospital to receive further medical assistance where he passed away".

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Praljak had received a confirmation of his 20-year sentence.

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Wednesday's hearing was the final case at the groundbreaking tribunal before it closes its doors next month.

The Tribunal was set up in 1993, while fighting still raged in the former Yugoslavia, and has indicted 161 suspects for war crimes and convicted 90 individuals.

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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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