Bosnian Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak drinks poison in court, dies [VIDEO]

By @chelean on
A wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces, Slobodan Praljak, is seen during a hearing at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in the Hague, Netherlands, November 29, 2017.
A wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces, Slobodan Praljak, is seen during a hearing at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in the Hague, Netherlands, November 29, 2017. ICTY via Reuters TV

A former Bosnian Croat official in trial for war crimes died Wednesday after drinking poison in court. Slobodan Praljak died in a local hospital where he was rushed after he was filmed dramatically drinking a vial of liquid at a UN tribunal court in The Hague.

Moments after being informed that his sentence of 20 years was upheld, Praljack continued to stand and informed the court that he was not guilty. “Judges, Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal. With disdain, I reject this verdict,” he said to the court before drinking the liquid, ignoring calls for him to sit down. “What I drank was poison.”

The visibly stunned presiding judge, Carmel Agius, had no choice but to suspend the session. Praljak was then brought for treatment to the hospital, where he died later.

“Former head of the chief headquarters of the Croatian Defence Council, General Slobodan Praljak, died in a hospital in The Hague after he drank poison in a courtroom after the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia confirmed his 20-year sentence for war crimes,” Croatian TV said (via Independent).

Praljak, 72, was the former commander of the main staff of the Bosnian Croat defence forces. He originally sentenced in 2013 for war crimes during the Croat-Bosniak War. He was among the six Bosnian Croat politicians convicted at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Last week, the judges imposed a life sentence on Ratko Mladic, a former Bosnian Serb military who was dubbed the “Butcher of Bosnia.” Mladic was convicted of genocide, among other crimes.

The judges also upheld a 25-year prison sentence against Jadranko Prlic, the former prime minister of a breakaway Bosnian Croat statelet. Former defence minister Bruno Stojic’s 20-year term was also upheld.

ICTY was established in 1993 to prosecute serious crimes committed during the Yugoslav Wars. It is set to be dissolved on Dec. 31.