Prosecutor reveals that bottle war criminal drank from in UN court had deadly substance

Preliminary tests show that a container from which a former Bosnian Croat military commander drank in a United Nations court contained a deadly chemical, a Dutch prosecutor has said.

Slobodan Praljak stunned the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia yesterday when he gulped down liquid from a small bottle seconds after a UN appeals judge had confirmed a 20-year sentence against him.

The 72-year-old said he had taken poison and later died in a hospital in The Hague, Netherlands.

Dutch prosecutor Marilyn Fikenscher told the Associated Press today that "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".

Croatian prime minister Andrej Plenkovic said at the start of the Croatian government session today that Praljak was "obviously shaken by the possibility he would be convicted" of war crimes during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

Croatian politicians held a moment of silence for him and the victims of the conflict, saying "let the death of General Praljak be the last act of the war".

Dutch prosecutors said a post-mortem examination will be carried out soon.

Praljak was convicted in 2013 of crimes including murder, persecution and deportation for his role in a plan to carve out a Bosnian Croat mini-state in Bosnia in the early 1990s.


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