War Crimes Defendant Says He ‘Drank Poison’ as 20-year Sentence Upheld

November 29, 2017 Last Updated: November 29, 2017

THE HAGUE—A wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces said on Wednesday he “drank poison” seconds after U.N. appeals judges upheld his 20-year sentence for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims.

Slobodan Praljak, 72, tilted back his head and took a swig from a flask or glass as the judge read out the verdict.

“I just drank poison,” he said. “I am not a war criminal. I oppose this conviction.”

A wartime commander of Bosnian Croat forces, Slobodan Praljak, is seen during a hearing at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, on Nov. 29, 2017. (ICTY via Reuters TV)

The presiding judge suspended the hearing and called for a doctor. An ambulance was at the building and paramedics raced up to the courtroom.

It was the last judgment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), established by the United Nations in 1993, before it closes next month.