Published: Sat, December 02, 2017
World Media | By June Phelps

Convicted War Criminal Drinks Poison in Courtroom, Dies

Convicted War Criminal Drinks Poison in Courtroom, Dies

"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", Plenkovic said, according to a tweet from an official government account.

A wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces has died after poisoning himself on live television in the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

"Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal".

The 72-year-old was in court in The Hague on Wednesday trying to appeal the 2013 sentence.

"I am not a war criminal!"

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The judge was then heard immediately suspending proceedings and asking for the curtains to be drawn.

An ambulance was later seen arriving outside the tribunal while several emergency rescue workers also rushed into the building carrying equipment in backpacks.

The court upheld convictions of Praljak and five other Bosnian Croats: Jadranko Prlic, the political leader of the Croatian province of Bosnia, along with military and police figures Bruno Stojic, Milivoj Petrovic, Valentin Coric and Berislav Pusic.

A photo of a mass grave containing victims of the Bosnian War, taken in 1996.

Praljak was one of the leaders who during the '90s turned against the Bosnian army in an attempt to create an ethnic Croat region in Bosnia by driving Muslims out.

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The court ruled that Praljak was aware that soldiers were rounding up Muslims in Prozor in the summer of 1993, but he failed to make any serious efforts to stop the action.

The tribunal concluded that Praljak failed to act on information that murders were being planned, as well as attacks on members of worldwide organisations.

"Slobodan Praljak had his first instance verdict confirmed in which he was sentenced to 20 year in prison".

Praljak was specifically charged with ordering the destruction of Mostar's 16th-century bridge in November 1993, which judges said "caused disproportionate damage to the Muslim civilian population". In fact, he was a Bosnian Croat commander with a militia operating in Bosnia. They have not yet passed judgment on the three other defendants.

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