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War criminal Slobodan Praljak dies after drinking poison in court

War criminal Slobodan Praljak dies after drinking poison in court

On hearing that his 20-year jail term had been upheld, the ex-commander of Bosnian Croat forces said he "was not a criminal" and then drank from a bottle.

Appeals judges also upheld the convictions of six other Bosnian Croats found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 1990s.

"I just drank poison", the 72-year-old said.

"Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal".

The courtroom where the dramatic scene unfolded was sealed off and Presiding Judge Carmel Agius said that it was now a "crime scene" so that Dutch police could investigate.

The hearing was halted, and a court guard told reporters that Praljak was "receiving medical attention", says The Daily Telegraph.

Slobodan Praljak, a former Bosnian Croat official who was on trial Wednesday at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, has reportedly died after drinking poison.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic later confirmed that Praljak had died, saying in a government tweet, "On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and on my own behalf, I want to express my deepest condolences to the family of General Slobodan Praljak".

A lawyer told The Associated Press who has frequently defended suspects at the United Nations war crimes court in the Netherlands says it would be easy to bring poison into the court. Judges did overturn some of his convictions, but refused to reduce his overall sentence.

Praljak's case was one of the last to be decided at a tribunal for ethnic war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, the worst outbreak of violence in Europe since the end of World War II.

The groundbreaking ICTY is to finally close next month.

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