Hague War Crimes Defendant Says He Took Poison In Court

Hague War Crimes Defendant Says He Took Poison In Court

Praljak is one of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders of the self-proclaimed Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia which existed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War.

"Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal".

A wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces said on Wednesday he "drank poison" seconds after United Nations appeals judges upheld his 20-year sentence for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims.

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.

Tribunal spokesman Nenad Golcevski, when asked by AP if he could confirm the death, said: "I have no information to share at this point".

"I have taken poison", he said, according to a court translator.

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Praljak - who was jailed for 20 years in 2013 for committing crimes against Bosnian Muslims - then told the judge: "I just drank poison".

Courtroom proceedings at The Hague are "typically tightly controlled", the Times says.

The presiding judge suspended the hearing and called for a doctor. Judges did overturn some of his convictions, but refused to reduce his overall sentence. "Defense minister" Bruno Stojic was sentenced to 20 years.

The case at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague came to an abrupt halt when Slobodan Praljak claimed to have taken poison from a small bottle.

The other suspects showed no emotion as Agius reconfirmed their sentences for their involvement in a campaign to drive Muslims out of a would-be Bosnian Croat ministate in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

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