War-crimes suspect ingests 'poison' during court ruling

Bosnian Croat war criminal 'drinks poison' at Hague hearing

He was facing the United Nation (UN) tribunal in The Hague. "With disdain, I reject this verdict". He then lifted something to his lips and drank it.

Praljak's condition, and whether he actually drank poison, are unknown. Five other defendants - Bruno Stojic, Berislav Pusic, Slobodan Praljak, Valentin Coric, and Milivoj Petkovic were also found guilty at the time, receiving sentences ranging from ten to 20 years.

Croatia's PM Andrej Plenkovic said at a press conference that Praljak's actions reflected a "deep moral injustice".

After Praljak's outburst, Dutch police immediately were called in to launch an independent investigation.

Slobodan Praljak, 72, was one of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders up before the court.

Agius quickly halted the hearing at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

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

Several emergency rescue workers also rushed into the building carrying equipment in backpacks.

He is accused of ordering the destruction of Mostar's 16th-century bridge in November 1993, an act that, judges said, "caused disproportionate damage to the Muslim civilian population".

Читайте также: Ole Miss get 2-year bowl ban, other penalties in NCAA case

Mostar saw the worst of the Croat-Muslim clashes, with almost 80 per cent of the city's east destroyed in the fighting.

Sources close to Praljak as saying he died in a hospital in The Hague. It indicted 161 suspects and convicted 90 of them.

A total of 100,000 people died and 2.2 million were displaced in the three-year war.

The six Bosnian Croats who unsuccessfully appealed includes former defence minister Jadranko Prlic, whose 25-year sentence for involvement in the campaign to create an ethnically pure state was upheld.

The conflict mainly saw Bosnian Muslims fighting Bosnian Serbs, but there were also deadly clashes involving Bosnian Muslims and Croats after an alliance fell apart.

The court last week convicted former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic of genocide.

The Bosnian-Croat statelet, backed by the government of the Croatian nationalist leader Franjo Tudjman, was formally dismantled in 1996 as part of the peace deal that ended the war.

In a dramatic turn of events, a Bosnian Croat war criminal died on Wednesday after drinking poison in a courtroom where hearing against his war crimes was taking place.

Mr Fila said: "They inspect metal objects, like belts, metal money, shoes, and take away mobile phones".

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