Bosnian Croat suspect 'takes poison' in United Nations court

Bosnian Croat suspect 'takes poison' in United Nations court

Bosnian Croat suspect 'takes poison' in United Nations court

War crimes defendant dies after drinking...

Croatian state TV says Slobodan Praljak has died after taking poison at war crimes court in The Hague.

After hearing the verdict, General Praljak stood and raised his hand to his mouth, tipped his head back and appeared to swallow a glass of liquid. First: how did Praljak, a former Bosnian Croat soldier found guilty of war crimes against Bosnian Muslims in 1993, smuggle poison into the courtroom?

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. Later, a court spokesman said he was still alive and was being treated.

A lawyer for Praljak, a commander of ethnic Croatians during the 1990s war in Bosnia, said that his client had poisoned himself and emergency services rushed to the scene.

Presiding judge Carmel Agius immediately suspended the proceedings and an ambulance was called.

Among the officials was former defense minister Jadranko Prlic, who had been convicted of participating in a criminal enterprise by the Croatian government of late President Franjo Tudjmano to create an ethnically pure state. Judges did overturn some of his convictions, but refused to reduce his overall sentence.

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

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

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