War crimes defendant opposes conviction, 'drinks poison' in court

30 November, 2017, 13:51 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • REUTERS TV | REUTERS | BDN

He and five other former Bosnian Croat leaders had been accused of trying to ethnically cleanse parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and were found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes in 2013.

A screengrab purporting to show wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces Slobodan Praljak drinking what he said was poison in court.

A wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces "drank poison" during a hearing at the United Nations war crimes tribunal at which his 20-year prison sentence was upheld, his lawyer said.

After hearing the verdict, General Praljak stood and raised his hand to his mouth, tipped his head back and appeared to swallow a glass of liquid.

"My client says he drank poison this morning", defence attorney Natasa Faveau-Ivanovic said.

The judge presiding over the appeal quickly shut down the hearing, which took place at The Hague in the Netherlands, as the area was treated as a crime scene.


Praljak was a former assistant minister of defense of Croatia, and later commander of the main staff of the former Croatian Defense Council, a militia operating in Bosnia.

The case at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague came to an abrupt halt when Slobodan Praljak claimed to have taken poison from a small bottle.

Praljak had been convicted of being involved in a campaign by Croat forces to persecute Bosnian Muslims to carve out a Croat ministate.

The Guardian reports Praljak, 72, has died in a local hospital where he was rushed from the courtroom in the southern Bosnian town of Mostar, south of Sarajevo.

The groundbreaking ICTY is to finally close next month.

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