Bos­nian Croat war crim­i­nal dies af­ter drink­ing poi­son in UN court­room

The hague: Ex-gen­eral Slo­bo­dan Pral­jak had just been jailed for 20 years

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - Mike corder

A for­mer Bos­nian Croat gen­eral died in a Dutch hos­pi­tal yes­ter­day shortly af­ter drink­ing a liq­uid in a court­room where judges had just con­firmed his 20-year sen­tence for war crimes.

Slo­bo­dan Pral­jak, 72, claimed to have drunk poi­son from a bot­tle shortly af­ter ap­peal judges con­firmed his jail term for in­volve­ment in a cam­paign to drive Mus­lims out of a would-be Bos­nian Croat min­istate in Bos­nia in the early 1990s.

Ne­nad Gol­cevski, a spokesman for the UN In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Tri­bunal for the for­mer Yu­goslavia (ICTY), said: “Mr Pral­jak drank a liq­uid while in court and quickly fell ill.

“The ICTY med­i­cal staff im­me­di­ately as­sisted Mr Pral­jak.

“Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, an am­bu­lance was sum­moned. Mr Pral­jak was trans­ported to a nearby hos­pi­tal to re­ceive fur­ther med­i­cal as­sis­tance, where he passed.”

The drama un­folded as judges were rul­ing on ap­peals for six for­mer Bos­nian Croat po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary lead­ers – the court’s fi­nal ver­dict for war crimes com­mit­ted dur­ing the break-up of Yu­goslavia in the 1990s.

Pral­jak was charged with or­der­ing the de­struc­tion of Mostar’s 16th Cen­tury bridge in Novem­ber 1993.

Judges in the first trial said the ac­tion had “caused dis­pro­por­tion­ate dam­age to the Mus­lim civil­ian pop­u­la­tion”.

Part of Pral­jak’s ap­peal was up­held as judged ruled the cross­ing had been a le­git­i­mate mil­i­tary tar­get.

They also over­turned some of con­vic­tions, but did not re­duce over­all sen­tence.

Yes­ter­day’s pro­ceed­ings came a week af­ter the judges im­posed a life sen­tence on the for­mer Bos­nian Serb com­man­der Ratko Mladic, who be­came known as the “Butcher of Bos­nia”.

Com­ment­ing on the in­ci­dent, Croa­t­ian PM An­drej Plenkovic told re­porters that Pral­jak’s ac­tion re­flects the “deep moral in­jus­tice” done to six Bos­nian Croats whose guilty ver­dicts were up­held by the UN’s war crimes court in the Hague. his his

Pic­ture: Getty.

Slo­bo­dan Pral­jak drinks from a small bot­tle. Shortly af­ter, he died in hos­pi­tal.

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