Bosnian Croat general DIES after drinking poison in courtroom

(Reuters) - The wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces, Slobodan Praljak, died after he drank poison seconds after United Nations judges turned down his appeal against a 20-year sentence for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims, Croatian state television reported.
A wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces, Slobodan Praljak, is seen during a hearing at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in the Hague, Netherlands, November 29, 2017. ICTV via REUTERS TV
The broadcaster quoted sources close to Praljak as saying he had died in a hospital in The Hague on Wednesday.
Appeals judges at the U.N.’s Yugoslav war crimes tribunal upheld the convictions of six Bosnian Croats found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1990s, in the court’s last verdict before it closes next month.
After the judge confirmed his sentence, Praljak, 72, took a swing from a glass and said: “I just drank poison.” He also said: “I am not a war criminal. I oppose this conviction.”
The presiding judge suspended the hearing and called for a doctor. An ambulance was at the building and paramedics went to the courtroom.
“Former head of the chief headquarters of the Croatian Defence Council, General Slobodan Praljak, died in a hospital in The Hague after he drank poison in a courtroom after the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia confirmed his 20-year sentence for war crimes,” Croatian TV said.
A lawyer who has frequently defended suspects at the U.N. war crimes court in the Netherlands says it would be easy to bring poison into the court.
Prominent Serbian lawyer Toma Fila told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it is “absolutely possible” to bring poison into the court in the Hague.
He says security for lawyers and other court staff “is just like at an airport.”
Fila said: “They inspect metal objects, like belts, metal money, shoes, and take away mobile phones.”
He added that “pills and small quantities of liquids” would not be registered.
Fila commented on the security measures after Croatia’s state TV reported that a Bosnian Croat died after claiming to have taken poison at the war crimes tribunal just after his 20-year sentence was upheld.

Bosnian Croat general DIES after drinking poison in courtroom Bosnian Croat general DIES after drinking poison in courtroom Reviewed by Alexander Von Stern on 08:01:00 Rating: 5