In His Final Act, War Criminal Hijacks Court

Source: Balkan Insight

The shocking public suicide of Slobodan Praljak at the Hague Tribunal has overshadowed the significant findings of Croatia’s complicity in mass crimes in Bosnia and has further diminished the legacy of the international court. Wednesday’s reading of the appellate verdict in the case against six Bosnian Croatian defendants was the last verdict issued by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The verdict upheld most of the charges against military and political leaders of ‘Herzeg-Bosna’, the self-proclaimed statelet in wartime Bosnia where Croatian forces committed massive crimes against humanity directed at Bosniak civilians. But instead of this day being remembered for the court’s very important confirmation that Croatian leadership engaged in a joint criminal enterprise to commit mass atrocity in Bosnia, it will be remembered for the televised suicide of one of the defendants, Slobodan Praljak.In a completely surreal spectacle, upon hearing that his sentence of 20 years was upheld, referring to himself in the third person, Praljak proclaimed, “Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal”, drank a vial of what appeared to be poison, and died a few hours later. That this was allowed to happen at all at a high-profile UN court is hard to understand, but that it happened on the very last day of ICTY proceedings, and will forever cast a shadow on the important work of the court, truly beggars belief.

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