War crime trials have failed to bring reconciliation to the Balkans

UN war crimes court unveils last verdict in Bosnian Croat appeal

A United Nations war crimes appeal trial was suspended on Wednesday after a former Croatian general claimed to have drank poison upon being sentenced to 20 years in jail.

"Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal". Praljak then proceeded to drink from the glass and announced that he had taken poison, according to the BBC.

The dramatic incident happened during an appeal hearing at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

He was sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2013 for war crimes in the city of Mostar. "I oppose this conviction".

Last week, the judges sentenced former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic to life in prison for genocide and crimes against humanity.

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The astonishment on the face of the presiding judge as Praljak responded to his sentence by drinking a deadly draft made clear just how extraordinary the breach was - reminiscent of Goering's death by cyanide capsule on the eve of his execution in 1946.

Croatian state TV reported that President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic chose to cut short an official visit to Iceland and the government was holding an emergency session.

Several convictions for specific crimes for Prlic and the five others were reversed in the appeal, but president Judge Carmel Agius said "all six remain convicted of numerous and very serious crimes".

The hearing was suspended after one of the suspects, former military commander Slobodan Praljak, drank from a bottle in court and claimed to have ingested poison.

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