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Chaos at UN Court as Bosnian Croat Defendant Takes Poison
International

Chaos at UN Court as Bosnian Croat Defendant Takes Poison

The UN war crimes court for former Yugoslavia descended into chaos during it last judgment Wednesday when a Bosnian Croat defendant appeared to take poison to protest the upholding of his 20-year jail term.
UN judges were handing down judgment in the appeals case of six former Bosnian Croat political and military leaders, in the court’s final verdict for war crimes committed during the bloody 1990s break-up of Yugoslavia, AFP reported.
Seconds after his sentence was upheld, former military commander Slobodan Praljak, 72, shouted out angrily: “Praljak is not a criminal. I reject your verdict.”
He then raised a small brown bottle to his lips, and drank it down in full view of the cameras filming the hearing.
The unprecedented scenes came just after the judges also upheld a 25-year prison term against Jadranko Prlic, the former prime minister of a breakaway Bosnian Croat statelet, and a 20-year term for its former defense minister Bruno Stojic.
But the hearing was then quickly suspended as Praljak’s lawyer shouted out: “My client says he has taken poison.”
As court officials surrounded the grey-haired and bearded Praljak, presiding judge Carmel Agius immediately ordered the proceedings suspended and the curtains screening the courtroom were abruptly closed to the public.
Several emergency rescue workers rushed into the building carrying equipment in backpacks. A court guard later appealed for calm, saying Praljak was alive and “receiving all necessary medical attention.”

 

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