War criminal killed himself with poison 'in protest at United Nations tribunal verdict'

War criminal killed himself with poison 'in protest at United Nations tribunal verdict'

Praljak drank the poison after hearing that his 20-year-long prison sentence was upheld by the court.

Praljak's action forced the tribunal to suspend the ruling of its last judgement in the appeal case involving six Bosnian Croat political and military leaders who were convicted in 2013 of persecuting, expelling and murdering Muslims during Bosnia's war.

During the reading of his appeal sentencing, former wartime leader, Slobodan Praljak, drank from a small flask.

The Latest on the death of a former Bosnian Croatian general who died shortly after swallowing liquid he said was poison during an appeals hearing at a United Nations war crimes tribunal.

He was taken to a nearby hospital for aide, where he was declared dead.

"In accordance with standard procedures, at the request of the ICTY, the Dutch authorities have initiated an independent investigation which is now ongoing".

Resuming a few hours later amid confusion, presiding judge Carmel Agius revealed Dutch authorities had already launched an investigation into the incident.

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Lawyer Toma Fila said that security for lawyers and other court staff "is just like at an airport", with security staff inspecting metal objects and confiscating cell phones, but "pills and small quantities of liquids" would not be registered.

The bloody 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, in which 100,000 people died and 2.2 million were displaced, mainly pitted Bosnian Muslims against Bosnian Serbs, but also saw some brutal fighting between Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats after an initial alliance fell apart.

It is not the first time that defendants have taken their own lives at the ICTY. Praljak yelled at the judge saying 'I reject your verdict.I am not a war criminal'.

Wednesday's hearing was the final case at the groundbreaking tribunal before it closes its doors next month. It indicted 161 suspects and convicted 90 of them.

Croatian Prime Minister Plenkovic said that his country's leadership during the Bosnian war could "in no way be connected with the facts and interpretations" of Wednesday's judgment.

In statements sure to anger Zagreb, the judges upheld the original trial finding that the men had been part of a joint criminal enterprise whose "ultimate goal was shared" by late Croatian president Franjo Tudjman, and other leaders.

The original trial began in April 2006 and provided a reminder of the complex web of ethnic tensions that fueled fighting in Bosnia and continues to create frictions in the country even today.

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