A Bosnian Croat general consumed a lethal dose of fast acting poison on camera, during an international criminal tribunal, after the appeal for his war crime conviction was turned down by a UN judge in Hague, Netherlands.
The wartime general Slobodan Praljak, 72, took a shot of an unknown, extremely poisonous liquid substance and then announced, “I just drank poison… I am not a war criminal. I oppose this conviction.”
UN Judge Carmel Agius halted the trial as Dutch police and paramedics were called to the scene. Praljak was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The general had been convicted for his role in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–95), in which his units engaged in ethnic cleansing against Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) in an attempt to drive them from the region to create a Bosnian Croat ministate in the former nation of Yugoslavia.
The historical record shows that Croats burned down Muslim villages, executed hundreds of elderly townspeople, and set up death camps where inmates were tortured and starved. Bosnian villages were ravaged with continuous artillery fire to evict the inhabitants.
This was the final case in the 20-year tribunal that indicted 161 suspected war criminals, 90 of which were convicted. Two other war criminals also had their appeals denied just prior to Praljak ingesting the poison.
The current Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenkovic, commented today on the situation saying, “His act, which we regrettably saw today, mostly speaks about deep moral injustice towards six Croats from Bosnia and the Croatian people… we voice dissatisfaction and regret about the verdict.” The six the prime minster was referring to were all politicians, military leaders, and police chiefs at the time of the Bosnian War and were convicted of war crimes by the court.
The Bosnian War saw ethnic cleansing on such a massive scale that it was the first conflict since the Second World War to be formally dubbed a genocide. Yet, it wasn’t just one side carrying out the ethnic cleansing. Serbs carried out merciless murder and torture campaigns against the Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats while Bosnian Croats also conducted extermination operations against the Bosniaks and Serbs. Similarly, the Bosniak Bosnian Muslims had their own attempt at genocide against the Croats in central Bosnia.