Dutch autopsy to be carried out soon on Bosnian Croat

Dec 01, 2017, 01:40
Dutch autopsy to be carried out soon on Bosnian Croat

Reports say the suspect while in court drank from a small bottle, upon hearing that his 20-year jail sentence had been upheld by the court declaring: "What I am drinking now is poison".

He revealed that tests had found that the bottle contained a "chemical product which can cause death".

ICTY spokesman Nenad Golcevski told reporters that Praljak "quickly fell ill" and died in hospital.

Prosecutors said their investigation would focus on what killed Praljak and whether he had received any outside help in obtaining the suspected poison.

Nick Kaufman, an Israeli defense lawyer who used to work as a prosecutor at the tribunal, also said a defendant could find a way to bring in a banned substance.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic decried today's verdicts, calling Praljak's apparent suicide "his message" to Croatia to resist the consequences of the "unjust" ruling by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia.

It remains a mystery exactly what Praljak drank and how he managed to evade tight security to smuggle the bottle into the tribunal. He said the former general was "obviously shaken by the possibility he would be convicted" of war crimes for his actions during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

Slobodan Praljak
Amel EmricEXCLUSIVE Bosnian Croat Commander's Lawyer Has'No Idea How He Snuck Poison Into Court

Praljak was convicted in 2013 of crimes including murder, persecution and deportation for his role in a plan to carve out a Bosnian Croat mini-state in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

He also refused to give details of who had visited Praljak in the days and weeks before Wednesday's events, citing privacy considerations.

So, when the former Bosnian Croat military commander suddenly threw back his head and drank what he said was poison from a small bottle after his 20-year war crimes sentence was upheld by a United Nations court today, many Croats watching the drama unfold on live TV thought it was yet another bluff.

Attorney Toma Fila said that security for lawyers and other court staff "is just like at an airport", with security staff inspecting metal objects and confiscating cell phones, but "pills and small quantities of liquids" would not be registered.

ZAGREB, Croatia Slobodan Praljak, a former film and theater director turned wartime general, was always known for theatrics.

He was among six Croats whose prison sentences ranging from 10-25 years were confirmed by appeals judges on Wednesday.

Praljak, a former military commander of a breakaway Bosnian Croat statelet, shouted out angrily: "Praljak is not a criminal".

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