He was facing the United Nation (UN) tribunal in The Hague. Slobodan Praljak: commits suicide in front of camera Seconds after his war crimes sentence of 20 years was upheld at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Slobodan Praljak shouted out angrily: “Praljak is not a criminal.
I reject your verdict.” Praljak, 72, then raised a small brown bottle to his lips, and drank it in full view of the cameras filming the hearing. “I just drank poison,” he said. “I am not a war criminal. I oppose this conviction.” UN officials confirmed that Praljak had died after it was initially reported by Croatian television. Dutch police declared the courtroom to be a crime scene.
The unprecedented scenes came as judges were handing down judgment in the appeals case of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders. They are the court’s final verdict for war crimes committed during the bloody 1990s break-up of Yugoslavia.
As court officials surrounded the grey-haired and bearded Praljak, the presiding judge, Carmel Agius, immediately ordered the proceedings be suspended and the curtains screening the courtroom were abruptly closed to the public. Within minutes, an ambulance arrived outside the tribunal in The Hague, while a helicopter hovered overhead. Several emergency rescue workers rushed into the building carrying equipment in backpacks.
A court guard appealed for calm, saying Praljak was “receiving all necessary medical attention”….