Bosnian war criminal dies after drinking poison in UN court

Update - 3.40pm: A former Bosnian Croat general died in a Dutch hospital today shortly after drinking a liquid in a courtroom where judges had just confirmed his 20-year sentence for war crimes.

Croatia's prime minister has confirmed the death of convicted war criminal Slobodan Praljak and offered condolences to his family.

Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic said at a press conference that "we have all unfortunately witnessed his act by which he took his own life".

Mr Plenkovic said Praljak's action reflects the "deep moral injustice" done to six Bosnian Croats whose guilty verdicts were upheld by the UN's war crimes court in the Hague today.

Slobodan Praljak drinking the liquid in court today.

Nenad Golcevski, a spokesman for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), said Praljak died despite efforts to save him.

Mr Golcevski said: "Mr Praljak drank a liquid while in court and quickly fell ill.

"The ICTY medical staff immediately assisted Mr Praljak.

"Simultaneously, an ambulance was summoned. Mr Praljak was transported to a nearby hospital to receive further medical assistance, where he passed."

Earlier: A war crimes convict who claimed to have taken poison during a UN court hearing has died, according to Croatian state TV.

Slobodan Praljak, 72, drank from a bottle shortly after appeal judges confirmed his 20-year sentence for involvement in a campaign to drive Muslims out of a would-be Bosnian Croat ministate in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

Dutch police refused to comment on the TV report based on "sources close to General Praljak".

Nenad Golcevski, spokesman for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, when asked by AP if he could confirm the death, said: "I have no information to share at this point."

AP


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