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UN tribunal suspends war crimes hearing after accused drinks ‘poison’

UN tribunal on Wednesday suspended war crimes hearing after Bosnian Croat leader Slobodan Praljak drank from a bottle which he claimed contained poison, yelling that he rejected the ruling of the tribunal.

The UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which had just upheld the war crimes sentences for Praljak and five other Bosnian Croat leaders, adjourned proceedings.

“Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal. I reject the verdict with contempt,” the 72-year-old Praljak screamed, as he unscrewed a bottle he was holding and drank from it.

It was unclear whether Praljak had really consumed poison.

The ruling on some of the 22 counts for which the group was sentenced for up to 25 years in prison was still due to be read.

Bosnian Croat leaders Jadranko Prlic, 58, Praljak, Bruno Stojic, Milivoj Petkovic, Valentin Coric and Berislav Pusic were sentenced in the first instance in 2013.

The Appeals Chamber overturned some of the counts.

The verdict was the last for the ICTY after 24 years of work.

The remaining work, including appeals in the genocide cases of Bosnian Serbs Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, will be handled by the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT).(dpa/NAN)

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