Wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces, Praljak, 72, sipped a toxic liquid during a hearing at the U.N. war crimes tribunal on Wednesday after his 20-year prison sentence was upheld, his lawyer said. Praljak tilted back his head and took a swing from a flask or glass as the judge delivered the verdict. After drinking the liquid, Praljak told the court: ‘I am not a war criminal, I oppose this conviction.’
Emergency services were seen rushing into the court room, including firefighters wearing oxygen tanks. A ramp to allow for a stretcher to be wheeled out of the building was laid down on the court steps, however the building was not evacuated. Croatian state television quoted sources close to Praljak as saying he died in a hospital in The Hague. The events took place in the final minutes of the court’s last verdict. Croatian former general Slobodan Praljak swallowing what is believed to be poison, during his judgement at the UN war crimes court (Picture: Getty) Croatian former general Slobodan Praljak arrives at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), prior to the judgement in his appeal case (Picture: Getty) The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), established by the United Nations in 1993, shuts its doors next month when its mandate expires. Praljak was convicted for his part in war crimes as Croat forces attempted to carve out a Croat ministate in Bosnia by driving Muslims from towns and villages during the 1992-95 war. He was specifically charged with ordering the destruction of the Mostar’s 16th century bridge in 1993, which caused significant damage to the Muslim population and became a symbol of the Croat-Muslim war. Some of Praljak’s convictions were overturned although judges refused to reduce his sentence. Emergency Services near the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) The Hague, The Netherlands, 29 November 2017 .