Former commander of Bosnian Croat forces during the Bosnian war died in a Dutch hospital after allegedly drinking poison during the sentencing in the U.N. war crimes court in The Hague. The ICTY judges were handing down judgement in the appeals case of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders for war crimes committed during the 1993-1995 Bosniak-Croat conflict when Slobodan Praljak verbally protested his 20-year sentence and drank a liquid from a small bottle.
The incident happened moments after the judges also upheld a 25-year prison term against Jadranko Prlić, former prime minister of a breakaway Bosnian Croat statelet.
The hearing was suspended and Praljak was rushed to a hospital in an ambulance.
Former general was charged with ordering the destruction of Mostar’s 16th-century bridge in November 1993, which judges in the first trial had said “caused disproportionate damage to the Muslim civilian population”, reported AFP. The bridge was later rebuilt, but the city saw the worst of the Croat-Bosniak clashes, with nearly 80 percent of the city’s Bosniak-controlled east destroyed in the fighting.
The judges allowed part of Praljak’s appeal, saying the bridge was a legitimate military target during the conflict. They also had overturned some of his convictions, but refused to reduce his sentence.
The tribunal for war crimes committed in former Yugoslavia found all six leaders guilty and sentenced them to 111 years in prison combined.