War criminal Slobodan Praljak 'dies after taking poison' in court

Slobodan Praljak enters the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague Netherlands on Wednesday. The hearing was suspended after Praljak claimed to have drunk poison

Slobodan Praljak enters the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague Netherlands on Wednesday. The hearing was suspended after Praljak claimed to have drunk poison

The suicide of Slobodan Praljak at the UN-mandated International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is a multifaceted scandal.

War criminal Slobodan Praljak has died after "drinking poison" as judges upheld his 20-year prison sentence at the Hague, according to Croatian state TV.

The court's original conviction said Tudjman played a leading role in a plan to create a small Croat state in Bosnia. Later, a court spokesman said he was still alive and was being treated. As he drank from the bottle, Praljak yelled "I am not a war criminal" moments after the court confirmed his 20-year sentence.

"My client says he drank poison this morning", defence attorney Natasa Faveau-Ivanovic said.

Croatian state TV reported that President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic chose to cut short an official visit to Iceland and the government was holding an emergency session.

Jadranko Prlic Bruno Stojic and Slobodan Praljak from left enter the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague Netherlands on Wednesday
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The presiding judge suspended the hearing and called for a doctor.

Praljak was a former assistant minister of defense of Croatia, and later commander of the main staff of the former Croatian Defense Council, a militia operating in Bosnia. Judges did overturn some of his convictions, but refused to reduce his overall sentence.

The judges were ruling in the appeals of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders accused in a campaign against Bosnian Muslims during the breakup of Yugoslavia.

The incident took place during the last judgement by the ICTY, established by the United Nations in 1993, to deal with crimes during the 1992-95 war.

The groundbreaking ICTY is to finally close next month.

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