Death instead of prison: Praljak committed suicide at the Hague Tribunal

BELGRADE, November 29 – RIA Novosti. A meeting of the Appeals chamber of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which examined the cases of six Croats were sentenced to long terms for crimes in the ‘ 90s, was marred by the suicide of General Slobodan Praljak.

The day the appeals chamber of the ICTY confirmed the verdicts of the ICTY first instance on may 29, 2013, in which the former Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed education Bosnian Croat Herceg-Bosna, Jadranko Prlić received 25 years in prison. To 20 years was sentenced the Minister of defence Bruno Stoic and leaders of the Croatian defence Council (HVO) Slobodan Praljak and Milivoj Petkovic. The commander of the military police, Valentin Coric received 16 years and Berislav Pusic, in charge of prisoners of war, sentenced to 10 years.

Six defendants accused of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992-1995. The court recognized them as participants in a joint criminal act with the aim of expulsion of Muslim and other nagarvadhu of the population and the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia. These actions were accompanied by killings, persecution, torture, rape, deportations and other crimes. One of the episodes was the destruction of Bosnian Croats of the UNESCO monument — the old bridge over the Neretva river in Mostar.

The court also confirmed that there was a joint criminal act with the aim of ethnic cleansing in the so-called state of Herceg-Bosna in BiH, which was led by the then official of Zagreb.
With all the contempt

After the court around 11.30 (13.30 GMT) upheld the sentence of 25 years in prison Prlić, 20 years Stoica and Prasco, the latter rose from his seat.

“Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal, spurn your verdict,” said Prelec. The judge tried to go to the announcement of the decision on the accused the following, however, came the voice of the lawyer. She translated the statement of the General that he had committed suicide.

Some of those present in court stood up from their seats and headed towards the accused, the session was stopped, the stream is interrupted. Then in mass media there was a video from the courtroom with the last words Praska.

National Croatian television HRT reported that Prasco medical assistance. Judge Carmel Agius after the break and continued reading the verdict in another courtroom, as in the first Dutch law enforcement authorities have begun an investigation of the incident. The appeals chamber has confirmed the convictions of all six defendants. About the health Praska judges said nothing.
The Reaction Of Zagreb

The verdict aroused the opposition of the authorities and a large part of the citizens of the Republic. The President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic was interrupted by a visit to Iceland and returned to Zagreb because of the sentence at the ICTY. Previously, she and other members of the Republican leadership spoke in support of the defendants. At the presentation of the book “General Praljak” in Zagreb on 24 November, the President called him and the other “defenders of Croatia from aggression”, and the book is an expression of gratitude.

“First of all, on behalf of the government of the Republic of Croatia I wish to Express my deepest condolences to the family of General Slobodan Praljak. His act, which all were today, when he during the announcement of the decision of the Appeals chamber took his own life, tells about the most profound moral injustice against the six Croats from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entire Croatian people”, — said the Prime Minister Andrey Plenkovich at a press conference in Zagreb.

The head of the government of the Republic added that “independence would not be big without the Croats, who have created the foundations for a sovereign and independent BiH”. The solidarity expressed by the members of the Cabinet and most MPs.

Especially bothered by the Croatian leadership that the decision of the court of the ICTY, their country was recognized as an aggressor on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina that may entail international legal consequences and damage to the image of the state. Official Zagreb refers to the armed conflicts of the 90-ies of the liberation war for Croats.
The court is not supposed to work like this

One of the defenders of General Praljak Natasha favorite was Frid Sechin told RIA Novosti about the possible legal implications of the incident in court.

“Of course, someone has to answer. Now I can’t anything specific to say about it, but, in my opinion, it is necessary to raise the question of responsibility, and General working methods of the court” — she has declared to the Agency.

“What happened today as what happened seven days ago during the verdict, Ratko Mladic, as what happened during the trial of Milosevic, when he was interrupted and turned off the microphone — it should not happen at the international criminal court. I think these events sufficiently show, how does this court, and this is my opinion”, — said the lawyer.
Slow reaction

The press service of the Tribunal for a long time refused to comment on the status of the health of the General Prasca, even after his death was confirmed by the Prime Minister of Croatia. The ICTY reported only prepare the message. In the end, the official confirmation came only six hours after the incident.

“Slobodan Praljak, one of the six appellants in the case “Prlic and others”, died today at a hospital in the Hague. During the announcement of the decision, the appeals chamber affirmed the sentence of Prasco 20 years of imprisonment”, — is spoken in the message of press-service. Then Praljak said that he had committed suicide. He received medical treatment, he was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died, said at the ICTY.

It is noted that the Dutch authorities at the request of the ICTY began investigating the incident. Then came the message of the Prosecutor of the Tribunal, which expressed “satisfaction with the decision of the Appeals chamber in the case of “Prlic and others” for the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population in Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

A brutal civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina between Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks 1992-1995 ended with the Dayton agreement on 21 November 1995. According to various estimates, during the conflict killed more than 100 thousand people. The agreement is still in effect, it has identified specific state structure of BiH: entities Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, a special Brcko district, as well as the representation of all three Nations to the trinomial presidency of the country, who replaces the President, and General authorities.