War criminal Praljak claims to ingest poison, dies

by Antonio Miles December 2, 2017, 0:45
War criminal Praljak claims to ingest poison, dies

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.

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 global criminal tribunal in The Hague reconfirmed a 20-year sentence.

Slobodan Praljak, a wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces, has died by suicide, as reported by AP.

"Judges, I am not a war criminal, I reject the verdict with contempt", he said after drinking.

It could not immediately be confirmed whether Praljak had taken poison.

"I am not a war criminal!"

Slobodan Praljak was one of six former political leaders up before the court. "I oppose this conviction", he said.

The presiding Judge Carmel Agius suspended the hearings and paramedics raced to the courtroom, which was declared a crime scene by Dutch authorities.

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The six leaders were attending the final appeals judgment to be handed out by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which will close when its mandate expires at the end of this year.

He was charged with ordering the destruction of Mostar's 16th-century bridge in November 1993.

Praljak was sentenced to 20 years in jail along with his co-conspirators back in 2013, though it is not clear if he began serving that sentence before his appeal.

He was appealing his punishment before Wednesday's hearing confirmed his 20 year sentence for involvement in driving out Bosnian Muslims of a potential Bosnian Croat state.

It indicted 161 suspects and convicted 90 of them.

The tribunal, which last week convicted former Bosnian Serb military chief General Ratko Mladic of genocide and other crimes, was set up in 1993, while fighting still raged in the former Yugoslavia.

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.

Two other suspects also had their sentences upheld before the hearing was halted, including the former prime minister of a Croat entity in Bosnia, Jadranko Prlic, who was sentenced to 25 years.


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