Life&Culture

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

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

Slobodan Praljak, 72, died in hospital, with the United Nations court announcing that the courtroom was now "a crime scene", the BBC said.

Appeals judges upheld his 20-year sentence for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims during the war in the Balkans in the 1990s, prompting Praljak to stand up and address the court in The Hague, Netherlands.

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

"My client says he drank poison this morning", defence attorney Natasa Faveau-Ivanovic said. Slobodan Praljak, 72, shouted a declaration that he is not a war criminal before downing an unknown substance from a small bottle.

A court guard said early afternoon local time that the defendant was still alive.

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 judge suspended the hearing and Praljak was brought in for treatment, according to Reuters.

Praljak had been convicted of being involved in a campaign by Croat forces to persecute Bosnian Muslims to carve out a Croat ministate. Croatian state TV later reported that Praljak had died.

Several convictions for specific crimes for Prlic and the five others were reversed in the appeal, but president Judge Carmel Agius said "all six remain convicted of numerous and very serious crimes". He was originally sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2013.

It came a week after Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic was ejected from the courtroom after he was sentenced to life in prison for genocide.

Praljak's case was one of the last to be decided at a tribunal for ethnic war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, the worst outbreak of violence in Europe since the end of World War II.


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