Croatian war crimes suspect Slobodan Praljak dies after drinking POISON in court moments after life sentence verdict in The Hague

A FORMER Bosnian warlord has died after drinking poison moments after hearing his life sentence verdict in The Hague, according to Croatian state TV.

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

The 72-year-old yelled "I am not a war criminal!" and appeared to drink from a small bottle, seconds after judges reconfirmed his 20-year prison sentence for his involvement in a campaign to drive Muslims out of Bosnia in the early 1990s.

Footage shows Praljak standing up before tipping his head back and swallowing a glass of something as he told the judge: "I have taken poison."

Presiding Judge Carmel Agius immediately suspended the hearing and called for a doctor.

In the clip, the judge said: "Please, the curtains. Don't take away the glass that he used when he drank something."

Before the curtains were lowered, the courtroom could be seen in a state of confusion.

Dutch emergency services, police, a fire truck and an ambulance were seen outside the court building.

It is unclear whether Praljak had taken poison or the status of his health.

A court spokesman said he was alive and receiving medical attention.

Praljak was one of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders who had appealed against their convictions in 2013 for crimes in East Mostar.

Three had their sentences confirmed, although some of their convictions were overturned by appeal judges.

Praljak was charged with ordering the destruction of Mostar’s 16th-century bridge in November 1993, which judges said “caused disproportionate damage to the Muslim civilian population”.

The judge today had overturned some of Praljak’s convictions but left his sentence unchanged.

The tribunal, which last week convicted former Bosnian Serb military chief General Ratko Mladic of genocide and other crimes, was set up in 1993, while fighting still raged in the former Yugoslavia. It indicted 161 suspects and convicted 90 of them.

The appeals judges upheld a key finding that late Croat President Franjo Tudjman was a member of a plan to create a Croat mini-state in Bosnia.

Two other suspects had also had their sentences upheld before the hearing was suspended.'drinks%20POISON'%20in%20court%20moments%20after%20life%20sentence%20verdict” target=”_blank” title=”Click to share on Twitter

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