Home Politics Bosnian war criminal dies after drinking poison in court.

Bosnian war criminal dies after drinking poison in court.

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War Criminal Dies After Drinking Liquid in Court..

Slobodan Praljak, former Bosnian Croat military chief died Wednesday at a hospital after he swallowed from a vial what appeared to be poison as judges upheld his 20-year prison sentence at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Slobodan Praljak, a commander of Croat forces during the 1990s war in Bosnia, swigged poison from a flask moments after a panel of appeals judges upheld his 20 year sentence for war crimes on Wednesday morning.

He was pronounced dead two hours later. Dutch police declared the courtroom a crime scene and have opened an investigation.

The most notorious charge related to his role in the massacre of Bosnian Muslim civilians in the village of Stupni Do, a village near the central Bosnian municipality of Vares, in the October 1993 .

He committed suicide when Carmel Agius, the presiding judge, read out a verdict rejecting his appeal.

Refusing to sit, he said: “Judges, Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal. With disdain, I reject this verdict.”

Ignoring a request to sit down, he swigged from what appeared to be a small flask and announced: “What I drank was poison.”

Slobodan Praljak screamed 'I am not a war criminal' before raising the liquid to his mouth
Slobodan Praljak screamed ‘I am not a war criminal’ before raising the liquid to his mouth

Judge Agius immediately suspended proceedings and called a doctor while Praljak’s lawyer shouted “my client says he has taken poison!”

An ambulance was called and Praljak was reported to be receiving medical treatment before his death was confirmed in the early afternoon.

It is unclear how he managed to smuggle poison into the courtroom. Dutch Police have opened a criminal investigation.

The most notorious charge related to his role in the massacre of Bosnian Muslim civilians in the village of Stupni Do, a village near the central Bosnian municipality of Vares, in the October 1993 .

At least 37 people were killed after Praljak issued an order to “sort out the situation in Vares showing no mercy towards anyone. Find people who are up to both the times and the tasks.”

 Those who received the order included Ivica Rajic, a Croat commander in central Bosnia whose troops carried out the massacre and committed rapes in Stupni Do on October 23 and October 24. Rajic was found guilty of crimes including wilful killing and abuse including sexual assault in 2006.

Tuesday’s appeal verdict  was the last judgement by the International Criminal Tribunal, which was established in 1993. The court is to close next month.