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War crimes convict Slobodan Praljak drinks poison in court

ANI | Updated: Nov 29, 2017 20:55 IST

The Hague [The Netherlands], Nov.29 (ANI): Former Bosnian Croat general Slobodan Praljak has died after he claimed to have drunk poison at a UN Tribunal in The Hague when he lost an appeal, according to Croatian state media.

Seconds after his war crimes sentence of 20 years was upheld at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Praljak raised a small brown bottle to his lips, and drank it in full view of the cameras filming the hearing, reported the Guardian.

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

The presiding judge called for a doctor and halted the proceedings.

Croatian television quoted sources close to Praljak as saying he later died in a hospital in The Hague.

Dutch police declared the courtroom to be a crime scene.

Praljak was one of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders appearing before the appeal court.

Three out of the six defendants in the last case at the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia had their sentences confirmed.

According to the reports, Praljak was originally sentenced in 2013 for his involvement in a campaign to drive Muslims out of a would-be Bosnian Croat mini-state in Bosnia in the early 1990s

Praljak was specifically charged with ordering the destruction of Mostar's 16th-century bridge in November 1993, which judges in the first trial had said "caused disproportionate damage to the Muslim civilian population".(ANI)