A Bosnian Croat wartime commander died on Wednesday shortly after he drank poison, seconds after U.N. appeals judges upheld his 20-year sentence for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims.
Slobodan Praljak, 72, a former wartime leader, tilted back his head and took a swing from a flask or glass as the judge read out the verdict. The man’s defense lawyer then told the court that the accused had “taken poison.” The presiding judge stopped the proceedings and ordered a doctor to be called, Reuters reports.
“I just drank poison,” he said. “I am not a war criminal. I oppose this conviction.”
Praljak sat back down and slumped in his chair, a lawyer who was in the courtroom at the time said. The presiding judge suspended the hearing and called for a doctor. An ambulance was at the building and paramedics went to the courtroom.