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War criminal drinks poison during court hearing, dies

War criminal drinks poison during court hearing, dies

The action by the war crime suspect forced the tribunal to suspend the ruling of its last judgement in the appeal case involving six Bosnian Croat political and military leaders who were convicted in 2013 of persecuting, expelling and murdering Muslims during Bosnia's war.

Slobodan Praljak drank from a small bottle and yelled "I am not a war criminal!" during the United Nations verdict at The Hague for his involvement in a campaign to drive Muslims out of Bosnia in the 1990s.

Slobodan Praljak yelled, "I am not a war criminal!" and drank a dark liquid from a small bottle seconds after losing his appeal against a 20-year prison sentence at the International Criminal Tribunal, in the Netherlands.

Slobodan Praljak appearing to drink from a vial in court in The Hague.

"I just drank poison", he added.

"I am not a war criminal!"

Praljak's lawyer then shouted "My client says he has taken poison", before the presiding judge suspended the hearing and called for a doctor.

The courtroom was being treated as a crime scene, an ICTY spokesperson told CNN.

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The apparent courtroom suicide, which was broadcast on a video feed, came in the final minutes of the last judgement at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which closes next month.

Although they were allies against the Bosnian Serbs in the Bosnian War of 1992 - 1995, Bosnian Croats and Muslims were also in conflict for nearly a year, with Mostar seeing some of the bloodiest conflict as the country of Yugoslavia messily divided.

Agius had overturned some of Praljak's convictions but left his sentence unchanged.

The appeals hearing comes a week after the judges sentenced former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic to life in prison.

Praljak was also specifically charged with ordering the destruction of Mostar's 16th century Old Bridge and mosques in November 1993.

Plenković has argued that the Croat leadership, and former President Franjo Tudjman in particular, did not participate in a plan to carve out a Croat state in Bosnia.

Before the hearing was halted, Prlic had also had his 25-year jail term upheld.




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