Convicted war criminal dies after drinking ‘poison’ in court
A courtroom in the Netherlands was left stunned today after a former commander of Bosnian Croat forces took his own life by drinking what he said was a bottle of "poison."
Right after Slobodan Praljak’s 20-year sentence was upheld at a U.N. tribunal on war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, he yelled “I am not a war criminal” and proceeded to drink from a small bottle.The incident was captured on the courtroom's video feed.
The judges at the International Crime Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia appeared stunned and confused for a short time before starting to move on.
“I have taken poison,” Praljak interrupted, according to an interpreter on the courtroom's video feed. Many in the room began to scramble to assist Praljak. The presiding judge quickly ordered the court be suspended and that the room's curtains be shut.
Hours later, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said Praljak died shortly after imbibing the contents of the bottle. according to The Associated Press. “We have all unfortunately witnessed his act by which he took his own life," Plenkovic said, the AP reported.
Praljak was a former commander of Bosnian Croat forces in the Bosnian war from 1992 to 1995, according to the AP. Praljak was one of six Bosnian Croat political and military leaders who appeared in court today who were convicted in 2013 on a number of charges against Muslims by the United Nations during the war in Bosnia, according to the AP.
Toma Fila, a Serbian lawyer, told the AP “pills and small quantities of liquids” would not be flagged in security upon entering the court. Security procedures are similar to those of going through security at any airport, and bringing poison into the court in the Hague was “absolutely possible," Fila said.