A convicted Bosnian Croat war criminal has died from drinking poison after the UN’s International Court of Justice, known as The Hague, upheld his sentence.
Slobodan Praljak was appealing the 20-year sentence he was given for his crimes in the city of Mostar, during the Bosnian war, from 1992 to 1995.
The courtroom was thrown into chaos when the 72-year-old chose to end his own life, in front of the panel of judges who had, moments before, overturned his appeal.
Before drinking the poison, Praljak shouted defiantly: “Judges, Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal, with disdain I reject your verdict!”
Presiding Judge Carmel Agius immediately halted proceedings and the former war general was rushed to a nearby hospital. Praljak was pronounced dead a few hours later.
An investigation will be launched into who supplied him with the poison, and how he managed to smuggle the bottle into the UN’s highest court.
The UN announced that the courtroom has been declared “a crime scene”.
Praljak was convicted for breaching the Geneva convention, violating the laws or customs of war, and committing crimes against humanity.
During 1993, General Praljak was in charge of the Dretelj concentration camp, known for its brutality and inhumane conditions.
Praljak, arrested in 2004, had already served more than two-thirds of his sentence, and it’s likely he would have been released soon.
Image: Praljak drinks poison [online image] (2017) sourced on 30 November 2017 http://www.afr.com/content/dam/images/g/z/v/k/6/v/image.related.afrArticleLead.620×350.gzvk61.png/1512023370283.jpg