| 30.11,17. 02:08 AM |
Bosnian Croat war criminal died in hospital after drinking poison in a UN court..Video
A former Bosnian Croat general convicted of war crimes died in hospital after drinking poison in a UN court on Wednesday.
The case at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague came to an abrupt halt when Praljak stood up, rejected the verdict, and drank what he said was poison from a small bottle.
"Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal. I reject this verdict with contempt," he shouted. His lawyer also said Praljak had taken a substance, and the presiding judge ended the proceedings.
Croatia's official news agency HINA announced later that, based on information gathered from close relatives, Praljak died in hospital.
The breaking news was also published on many other local Croatian and Bosnian news outlets.
No official statement has yet been made confirming Praljak’s death.
Praljak was one of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders of the self-proclaimed Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia which existed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War.
The group was appealing a string of war crimes verdicts.
Praljak, 72, had launched an appeal over a 2013 verdict against wartime Croatian figures sentenced to a total of 111 years in prison for crimes committed in the Bosnian conflict.
Verdict read out
Later Wednesday, the judges continued reading out the final verdict.
They group of six were convicted of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990s.
There was no change in the sentences given to the Croat military and political leaders from 2013. The six prosecuted Croats were found guilty of crimes against humanity committed in the 1990s Bosnian war and violations of the laws of war and the Geneva convention.
The group in 2013 was convicted of demolishing of the Old Bridge in Mostar, but in Wednesday's ruling they were not held responsible.
The Appeals Council ruled that the Mostar Bridge was a "military target" and its demolition was not a crime, but also did not reduce their overall sentences.
The Appeal Council also once again confirmed that then-Croatian President Franjo Tudjman joined forces with the Croatian forces in the country during the Bosnian war in a "joint criminal enterprise".
In his first ruling in 2013, Prlic was sentenced to 25 years in prison, Stojic, Praljak and Petkovic to 20 years, Coric to 16 years, and Pusic to 10 years.
The first indictment of Prlic and others was drafted in 2004, and was last amended in 2008. The six Croats, on their own accord, surrendered to The Hague tribunal in 2004.