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Dutch police launch inquiry into war criminal's courtroom suicide

Top News2017-12-01

Dutch police have launched a criminal investigation into the death of the Bosnian Croat commander Slobodan Praljak, who swallowed poison as his appeal was being streamed live around the world. The international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has invited local police officers to conduct the inquiry into how the chemical was smuggled into the high security courtroom in The Hague. A spokeswoman for the war crimes court told the Guardian: “An independent investigation is ongoing which has been initiated by the Dutch authorities at the request of the ICTY. We will cooperate fully.” She did not reveal whether anybody had yet been arrested or what type of poison Praljak drank. A Dutch prosecutor, Marilyn Fikenscher, confirmed that the phial that the convicted Croat general hid in his jacket held a deadly poison. “There was a preliminary test of the substance in the container and all I can say for now is that there was a chemical substance in that container that can cause death,” Fikenscher said. An autopsy will be carried out shortly, a prosecution spokesman said. Praljak stunned the ICTY on Wednesday when he gulped down liquid from a small bottle seconds after a UN appeals judge confirmed a 20-year sentence against him. The white-haired 72-year-old consumed the contents in full view of the cameras filming the hearing. “I just drank poison,” he informed the astonished judges. “I am not a war criminal. I oppose this conviction.” He was rushed to hospital by ambulance but died later. Praljak was convicted in 2013 of crimes including murder, persecution and deportation for his role in a plan to carve out a Bosnian Croat mini-state in Bosnia in the early 1990s. In the Croatian capital, Zagreb, the country’s parliament observed a minute’s silence. The assembly’s speaker, Gordan Jandroković, called on lawmakers to remember “all victims of the wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina”, including civilians and “the killed and missing Croatian defenders”. “All victims have to remain forever in our collective consciousness and yesterday’s death of General Praljak should remain the last act of the tragic events of war,” he said. (THE GUARDIAN)

Dutch police have launched a criminal investigation into the death of the Bosnian Croat commander Slobodan Praljak, who swallowed poison as his appeal was being streamed live around the world.

The international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has invited local police officers to conduct the inquiry into how the chemical was smuggled into the high security courtroom in The Hague.

A spokeswoman for the war crimes court told the Guardian: “An independent investigation is ongoing which has been initiated by the Dutch authorities at the request of the ICTY. We will cooperate fully.”

She did not reveal whether anybody had yet been arrested or what type of poison Praljak drank.

A Dutch prosecutor, Marilyn Fikenscher, confirmed that the phial that the convicted Croat general hid in his jacket held a deadly poison. “There was a preliminary test of the substance in the container and all I can say for now is that there was a chemical substance in that container that can cause death,” Fikenscher said.

An autopsy will be carried out shortly, a prosecution spokesman said.

Praljak stunned the ICTY on Wednesday when he gulped down liquid from a small bottle seconds after a UN appeals judge confirmed a 20-year sentence against him.

The white-haired 72-year-old consumed the contents in full view of the cameras filming the hearing. “I just drank poison,” he informed the astonished judges. “I am not a war criminal. I oppose this conviction.” He was rushed to hospital by ambulance but died later.

Praljak was convicted in 2013 of crimes including murder, persecution and deportation for his role in a plan to carve out a Bosnian Croat mini-state in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

In the Croatian capital, Zagreb, the country’s parliament observed a minute’s silence. The assembly’s speaker, Gordan Jandroković, called on lawmakers to remember “all victims of the wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina”, including civilians and “the killed and missing Croatian defenders”.

“All victims have to remain forever in our collective consciousness and yesterday’s death of General Praljak should remain the last act of the tragic events of war,” he said.

(THE GUARDIAN)

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