War crimes defendant opposes conviction, 'drinks poison' in court

Kristopher Drake
November 30, 2017

"Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal". Later, a court spokesman said he was still alive and was being treated. Police in The Hague declined comment on the case.

The astonishment on the face of the presiding judge as Praljak responded to his sentence by drinking a deadly draft made clear just how extraordinary the breach was - reminiscent of Goering's death by cyanide capsule on the eve of his execution in 1946.

According to Croatian State Agency HINA, a helicopter has been sent for Praljak.

Some of his convictions for actions in the later years of the conflict were overturned, but his sentence was not.

He then drank from what appeared to be a small vial, ignoring calls from the judge to sit down. Prajlak also once served as the assistant defense minister of Croatia.

Slobodan Praljak, 72, died in hospital, with the United Nations court announcing that the courtroom was now "a crime scene", the BBC said. An ambulance was at the building and paramedics raced up to the courtroom.

Praljak was one of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders up before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Set up by mandate of the UN Security Council in 1993, the ICTY is due to close when its mandate expires at the end of the year. It indicted 161 suspects and convicted 90 of them. In fact, he was a Bosnian Croat commander with a militia operating in Bosnia.

The original trial began in April 2006 and provided a reminder of the complex web of ethnic tensions that fueled fighting in Bosnia and continues to create frictions in the country even today.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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