A Bosnian Croat wartime commander has died after drinking poison during an appeals hearing at a United Nations court, Croatia's prime minister has confirmed. "The verdict was mid-way and the first three defendants had their sentences confirmed; 25, 20 and Praljak also 20 years in prison", Dzidic said. "I oppose this conviction", he said.
"I'm not a war criminal", Praljak shouted at the presiding judge.
The apparent courtroom suicide, which was broadcast on a video feed, came in the final minutes of the last judgement at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which closes next month.
He told the judge: "I have taken poison".
Praljak, 72, was filmed drinking the poison Wednesday.
In a statement, the ICTY said Praljak "was immediately assisted by the ICTY medical staff" and was "transported to a nearby hospital to receive further medical assistance where he passed".
Several emergency rescue workers rushed into the building carrying equipment in backpacks, while court officials called for calm.
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A photo of a mass grave containing victims of the Bosnian War, taken in 1996.
Praljak was also said to have inflicted cruel treatment on Bosnian Muslims, by arranging for their expulsion and forced transfer and by submitting those imprisoned to forced labour.
The court ruled that Praljak was aware that soldiers were rounding up Muslims in Prozor in the summer of 1993, but he failed to make any serious efforts to stop the action. He had also failed to act on information that murders were being planned, as well as attacks on members of worldwide organisations, and the destruction of Mostar's historic Old Bridge and mosques.
Siobodan Praljak had just been convicted of genocide and sentenced to 20 years jail when this happened.
Praljak was charged at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia with ordering the destruction of Mostar's 16th-century bridge in November 1993. Judges found Praljak's act to have "caused disproportionate damage to the Muslim civilian population".
Those appearing with him included Jadranko Prlic, the former Prime Minister of the Bosnian Croats' breakaway statelet.