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Convicted War Criminal Drinks Poison in Courtroom, Dies

Convicted War Criminal Drinks Poison in Courtroom, Dies

Praljak said he was "not a war criminal", and after declaring that he "rejects the judgment" - drank something "from a small glass".

So far 83 people have been convicted for war crimes during the Yugoslav Wars.

A CROATIAN warlord who "died after drinking poison in court" could easily smuggle the liquid in, a lawyer has claimed.

The 72-year-old former commander of the Bosnian forces during the 1992 to 1995 conflict was one of six military and political officials receiving appeal sentences Wednesday, which was due to be the last session of the worldwide tribunal set up by the United Nations in 1993 with the motto "bringing war criminals to justice and justice to the victims".

He then raised a small brown bottle to his lips and tipped its contents into his mouth in full view of the public and cameras which were filming the appeal hearing for the six Bosnian Croat political and military leaders.

Some of Paljak's convictions were overturned, but the judge left his sentence unchanged.

Presiding judge Carmel Agius immediately suspended the proceedings and an ambulance was called.

"Honorable judges, Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal, and I accept your verdict with utter disgust", he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

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The conflict mainly saw Bosnian Muslims fighting Bosnian Serbs, but there were also deadly clashes involving Bosnian Muslims and Croats after an alliance fell apart.

Reporters on the scene said a helicopter could be heard overhead and paramedics with backpacks could be seen entering the chamber of the court.

The appeal judges said all six men, who had been found guilty of taking part in a scheme to remove Bosnian Muslims, "remained convicted of numerous and very serious crimes".

The six Bosnian Croats who unsuccessfully appealed includes former defence minister Jadranko Prlic, whose 25-year sentence for involvement in the campaign to create an ethnically pure state was upheld.

Last week the tribunal sentenced Gen. Ratko Mladic, the ethnic Serb "Butcher of the Balkans" to life in prison for genocide against Bosnian Muslims.

Tudjman's son, Miroslav, said Praljak's move was a "consequence of his moral position not to accept the verdict that has nothing to do with justice or reality". It indicted 161 suspects and convicted 90 of them.

Praljak, 72, was jailed in 2013 for his role in war crimes including a massacre of civilians in central Bosnia and the deliberate destruction of Mostar bridge during the siege of the city by Croatian forces in 1993.

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