War criminal poisons himself in court after sentence is upheld

02 December, 2017, 00:41 | Author: Ora Austin
  • Slobodan Praljak brings a bottle to his lips during a Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague

Slobodan Praljak drinking a small bottle of liquid claimed to be poison after judges reconfirmed his 20-year prison sentence during a Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.

Croatian state TV said Slobodan Praljak, 72, a former commander in Bosnia's 1992-95 war, appeared to drink from a small bottle moments after judges at the worldwide criminal tribunal in The Hague reconfirmed a 20-year sentence.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has confirmed the death of Slobodan Praljak, the wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces who died after he drank poison in The Hague.

"I have taken poison", he said, according to a court translator.

"I have taken poison", he said. "I am not a war criminal". "Praljak is not a criminal", he told the court.

The judge Carmel Agius called for a doctor and stopped the trial.

The 72-year-old drank from a tiny bottle after his 20-year prison sentence was upheld by the court.

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Potsdam police said they cleared the area around where the object was found and were investigating. But later they added that they were not sure whether it was a genuine explosive device or a dummy.

Dutch police will not comment on the TV report based on "sources close to Gen. Praljak".

In a statement, the ICTY said Praljak "was immediately assisted by the ICTY medical staff" and was "transported to a nearby hospital to receive further medical assistance where he passed".

In 2013, Praljak and five others were found guilty for their involvement in a campaign to drive Bosnian Muslims out of their homes in the early 1990s during the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

The crimes Praljak were convicted for stem from the destruction of a 16th century bridge in November of 1993, which the judges said "caused disproportionate damage to the Muslim civilian population".

The appeals judges also upheld a key finding that late Croat President Franjo Tudjman was a member of a plan to create a Croat mini-state in Bosnia.

Former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic was found guilty of genocide by the United Nations war crimes tribunal last week and sentenced to life in prison for his role in massacres and ethnic cleansing during Bosnia's war. It's also important to note that while the courts overturned some of Praljak's convictions, they refused to reduce his sentence.

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