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02 December 2017, 12:41 | Marta Robbins
A notorious general from the Bosnian War drank what he said was poison in the middle of a war crimes trial
The action by the war crime suspect forced the tribunal to suspend the ruling of its last judgement in the appeal case involving six Bosnian Croat political and military leaders who were convicted in 2013 of persecuting, expelling and murdering Muslims during Bosnia's war.
As Slobodan Praljak listened to his sentence of 20 years, he raised a small bottle to his lips in full view of the camera crew and shouted, "I am not a war criminal, I reject the verdict with contempt!"
Slobodan Praljak appearing to drink from a vial in court in The Hague.
He said that he did not accept the verdict, that he was not a war criminal and then drank the substance.
"On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and on my own behalf, I want to express my deepest condolences to the family of General Slobodan Praljak", Plenkovic said, according to a tweet from an official government account.
"I am not a war criminal!"
The courtroom devolved into chaos and Agius briefly suspended the proceedings.
At the same time, Dutch police have declared the courtroom where Praljak drank poison a crime scene.
Praljak was specifically charged with ordering the destruction of Mostar's 16th-century bridge in November 1993, which judges said "caused disproportionate damage to the Muslim civilian population".
Agius, a former judge at the Maltese courts and United Nations representative of the government, was elected to the role of president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 2015.
He was appealing his punishment before Wednesday's hearing confirmed his 20 year sentence for involvement in driving out Bosnian Muslims of a potential Bosnian Croat state.
Agius had overturned some of Praljak's convictions but left his sentence unchanged.
The tribunal, which last week convicted former Bosnian Serbian military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic of genocide and other crimes, was set up in 1993, while fighting still raged in the former Yugoslavia.
Two other suspects also had their sentences upheld before the hearing was halted, including the former prime minister of a Croat entity in Bosnia, Jadranko Prlic, who was sentenced to 25 years.
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