"I am not a war criminal", Slobodan Praljak said before throwing back his head with the liquid, eliciting a gasp from a judge at the United Nations court in The Hague, Netherlands. Praljak then proceeded to drink from the glass and announced that he had taken poison, according to the BBC.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic later confirmed that Praljak had died, saying in a government tweet, "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".
Croatian state TV later reported that Praljak had died.
The astonishment on the face of the presiding judge as Praljak responded to his sentence by drinking a deadly draft made clear just how extraordinary the breach was - reminiscent of Goering's death by cyanide capsule on the eve of his execution in 1946. Judges did overturn some of his convictions, but refused to reduce his overall sentence.
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Praljak had received a confirmation of his 20-year sentence..
Praljak was convicted for involvement in a campaign to drive Muslims out of a would-be Bosnian Croat ministate in Bosnia in the early 1990s. An ambulance was at the building and paramedics raced up to the courtroom.
Wednesday's hearing was the final case at the groundbreaking tribunal before it closes its doors next month.
The dramatic incident happened during an appeal hearing at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).