United Nations war crimes defendant claims to drink poison in court

Yugoslavian war criminal 'takes poison' to end hearing at UN court

Yugoslavian war criminal 'takes poison' to end hearing at UN court

The chairman of Bosnia's inter-ethnic presidency, Dragan Covic, a Croat, said: "He showed before the whole world what kind of sacrifice he is ready to make to prove that he is not a war criminal".

"We have all unfortunately witnessed his act by which he took his own life", Mr Plenković told reporters, adding that Praljak's action reflected the "deep moral injustice" done to six Bosnian Croats whose guilty verdicts were upheld by the United Nations war...

"The government expresses its condolences to all victims of all crimes committed in the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina".

"There was a preliminary test of the substance in the container and all I can say for now is that there was a chemical substance in that container that can cause death".
"I am not a war criminal. I oppose this conviction", he said.

His lawyer shouted out "my client has taken poison" before judge Carmel Agius suspended the hearing and the courtroom was closed.

The UN court subsequently announced that the courtroom was now "a crime scene".

The action by the war crime suspect forced the tribunal to suspend the ruling of its last judgement in the appeal case involving six Bosnian Croat political and military leaders who were convicted in 2013 of persecuting, expelling and murdering Muslims during Bosnia's war.

Yugoslavian war criminal 'takes poison' to end hearing at UN court
'I'm no war criminal' Dramatic moment general drinks 'POISON' live during trial

Praljak was also specifically charged with ordering the destruction of Mostar's 16th century Old Bridge and mosques in November 1993.

He reportedly participated in the establishment and expansion of concentration camps and other detention centres.

He was appealing his punishment before Wednesday's hearing confirmed his 20 year sentence for involvement in driving out Bosnian Muslims of a potential Bosnian Croat state.

Just prior to Praljak's taking poison, the judges had upheld Prlic's 25 year prison sentence and Stojic's 20 year term.

The ICTY, established in 1993 by the UN Security Council, indicted 161 war crimes suspects from Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo.

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