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There was palpable drama at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague when a Bosnian Croat war crime suspect Slobodan Praljak apparently drank poison in court after his 20-year sentence was upheld.

Siobodan Praljak had just been convicted of genocide and sentenced to 20 years jail when this happened.

The court upheld convictions of Praljak and five other Bosnian Croats: Jadranko Prlic, the political leader of the Croatian province of Bosnia, along with military and police figures Bruno Stojic, Milivoj Petrovic, Valentin Coric and Berislav Pusic.

Praljak, who remains standing, begins to shout: "Judges, Slobodan Praljak is not a criminal".

"The judge then paused the proceedings and ordered the glass [from which Praljak drank] not be taken from court".

"In accordance with standard procedures, at the request of the ICTY, the Dutch authorities have initiated an independent investigation which is now ongoing".

Croatia's PM Andrej Plenkovic said at a press conference that Praljak's actions reflected a "deep moral injustice".

So far 83 people have been convicted for war crimes during the Yugoslav Wars. "We voice dissatisfaction and regret about the verdict".

A screengrab purporting to show wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces Slobodan Praljak drinking what he said was poison in court.

The UN war tribunal found that despite his being informed of what was happening, Praljak failed to make serious efforts to stop soldiers from rounding up Muslims in Prozor in the summer of 1993.

"I just drank poison". In fact, he was a Bosnian Croat commander with a militia operating in Bosnia.

The ICTY was set up by mandate of the UN Security Council in 1993, and is due to close when its mandate expires at the end of the year. Nearly immediately, the session is suspended.

"Okay. We suspend the... we suspend..." he said.

Within minutes, an ambulance arrived outside the tribunal, while a helicopter hovered overhead.

The presiding Judge Carmel Agius suspended the hearings and paramedics raced to the courtroom, which was declared a crime scene by Dutch authorities. Please drop your comment!


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