Croat war criminal’s shocking death by poison stuns tribunal
THEHAGUE, NETHERLANDS » Seconds after a U.N. judge confirmed his 20-year war crimes sentence on Wednesday, former Bosnian-Croat military commander Slobodan Praljak shouted, “I am not a war criminal!” threw back his head, drank from a small bottle and told the court he had taken poison. Praljak was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died.
Images of the 72-year-old former philosophy professor and theater director who became a wartime general shouting and drinking what he said was poison were streamed live on the court website and in the Balkans.
It was the last case at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Judges upheld sentences from 10to 25 years against Praljak and five other Bosnian Croat political and military leaders for their part in a plan linked to Croatia’s late former President Franjo Tudjman to violently carve out a Croat-dominated mini-state in Bosnia in the Balkan wars by killing and abusing Muslims.