Bosnian Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak has died in hospital after he reportedly drank poison upon hearing that his 20-year sentence was to be upheld by the United Nations war crimes tribunal at The Hague.
Upon hearing the judge had refused his appeal, Praljak took a small bottle from his pocket and drank from it after declaring: "What I am drinking now is poison." "I'm not a war criminal," Praljak continued before sitting back down and slumping in his chair.
In the courtroom video, the judge then suspends the hearing and calls for an ambulance.
In 2013, Praljak was among six Bosnian Croat politicians convicted of war crimes during the Croat-Bosniak War. As a senior commanding officer during the war, he was held responsible for war crimes that Herceg-Bosna troops committed against Bosnian Muslims.
"The Trial Chamber concluded that, from January 1993, all six accused were participants in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at creating a Croatian entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina that would facilitate the reunification of the Croatian people, through ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population," the tribunal noted.
Unsurprisingly, social media reacted strongly to the suicide.
War criminal, murderer, ustaša and rape instigator Slobodan Praljak lived his whole life as a coward, and made sure he'll be remembered as one in death too.— Ines Helene (@inihelene) November 29, 2017
During #Yugoslav Tribunal, #ICTY, last ever Judgement, Slobodan #Praljak loudly protests the upholding of his war crimes conviction, drinks something from a small glass, tells the chamber he took poison. "Is there a Doctor here?", says Judge Carmel Agius. Chamber adjourns. pic.twitter.com/leEgQWCnKZ— Thijs Bouwknegt (@thijsbouwknegt) November 29, 2017
Did Praljak just commit suicide? Why didn't he do that in 1991?— Eric Gordy (@EricGordy) November 29, 2017
Dutch police have now launched an independent investigation into the incident.