A former Bosnian Croat general died this week after apparently drinking poison during a hearing in which a judge at The Hague ruled to uphold his 20-year sentence for war crimes.
“Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal. I am rejecting your verdict with contempt,” Praljak shouted as the judge presiding over the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia read his sentence aloud. Praljak then produced what appears to be a small glass vial, tilted his head back, and drank the liquid inside. The judge then immediately suspends proceedings and asks for the curtain to be drawn as medical personnel responded to the incident.
Not long thereafter, Croatia’s Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, confirmed the death of the former general.
“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,” Plenkovic said.
Praljak has been appealing a 20 year sentence levied in 2013 after he and five others were convicted of committing crimes against humanity in Bosnia, including the rape and murder of Bosnian citizens, ethnic cleansing, and wrongful imprisonment of Bosnian Muslims. The conviction was rooted in Praljak’s actions in the city of Mostar during the Bosnian War in the early to mid-1990s. He was found guilty on 20 separate charges.
The full list of Praljak’s crimes include:
- Persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds; murder; deportation; imprisonment; inhumane acts(crimes against humanity, Article 5)
- Cruel treatment; unlawful labour; destruction or willful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion or education; plunder of public or private property; unlawful attack on civilians; unlawful infliction of terror on civilians (violations of the laws or customs of war, Article 3)
- Wilful killing; unlawful deportation, transfer and confinement of a civilian; inhuman treatment; extensive destruction of property and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly (grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, Article 2)
Watch the dramatic footage of Slobodan Praljak apparent suicide below:
Image courtesy of YouTube