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.
Many noted that his suicide was cowardly, and that it stole justice out of the hands of his victims.
His crimes included four counts of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and five counts of crimes against humanity. This class of crimes includes persecution, murder, deportation, and inhuman acts carried out on the basis of political affiliation, race, or religion.
Unsurprisingly, social media reacted strongly to the suicide.
Dutch police have now launched an independent investigation into the incident.
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