After hearing that his 20-year prison sentence would be upheld by a war crimes court for former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Bosnian Croat Slobodan Praljak drank what appeared to be poison and died. 

"I, Slobodan Praljak, reject the verdict. I'm not a war criminal," he can be heard saying while he drinks from a small cup. "What I am drinking now is poison."

Praljak's lawyer said the 72-year-old "had taken poison" and presiding judge Carmel Agius called for a doctor as he temporarily halted the proceedings at The Hague. An ambulance arrived and paramedics were seen entering the courtroom. News reports say he died at a hospital near The Hague soon after. The judge can be heard asking members of the court to collect the cup or flask he used to ingest the substance.

 

The wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces, Slobodan Praljak, died after he drank poison just seconds after United Nations judges turned down his final appeal against a 20-year sentence for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims, Croatian state television reported.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was handing down its final judgment in an appeal by six Bosnian Croat political and military leaders. They were convicted in 2013 of persecuting, expelling and ultimately murdering Bosnian-Muslims during the 1992-1995 war.

The broadcaster quoted sources close to Praljak who said he died in a hospital in The Hague Wednesday.