A war criminal who swallowed a liquid during a dramatic court appearance died of cyanide poisoning, Dutch prosecutors say.
Slobodan Praljak took the poison while appearing before UN judges in The Hague after his conviction and 20-year sentence were upheld.
The former Croatian army chief drank from a small bottle and yelled: “I am not a war criminal. I oppose this conviction.”
His actions, which were broadcast on a video feed, forced the judges to temporarily suspend the hearing. Paramedics were seen entering the courtroom.
The hearing resumed a few hours later, with presiding judge Carmel Aguis saying: “Courtroom one is now a crime scene.”
The 72-year-old was convicted in 2013 of crimes including murder, persecution and deportation for his role in the attempt to create a Bosnian Croat mini-state in Bosnia in the early 1990s during the break-up of Yugoslavia.
Prosecutors said in a statement that Praljak had a “concentration of potassium cyanide in his blood”.
That “resulted in a failure of the heart, which is indicated as the suspected cause of death”.
Two Croatian experts observed the post-mortem at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Last week, it convicted former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic of genocide.