War criminal's suicide in Hague tribunal not a crime: Prosecutor

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The HaguePhoto: CvanderS / Wikimedia Commons

No criminal offenses were discovered in the investigation into the suicide of Bosnian-Croatian war criminal Slobodan Praljak in the court of the Yugoslavia Tribunal in The Hague last year, the Public Prosecutor concluded. The former general drank poison after the tribunal sentenced him to 20 years in prison. He died in hospital two hours later.

The Public Prosecutor concluded that Praljak did not receive help from others in his suicide, NOS reports. Based on witness statements, the Prosecutor concluded that the 72-year-old man had been considering suicide for some time. In a farewell letter to his family, Praljak wrote that he would take his own life is he was found guilty. He packed up his belongings for shipment to Croatia. And he said goodbye to multiple people on various occasions.

The drink Praljak drank in the court contained a deadly dose of potassium cyanide, dissolved in water. How the poison ended up in the court is not clear. Nothing remarkable can be seen on camera footage of the courtroom or the prison, according to the Public Prosecutor. And nothing was found during various searches. 

The Prosecutor believes that the cyanide may have been in Praljak's possession for some time. As potassium cyanide can be stored in dry form and only a small amount is fatal, the Prosecutor does not find it strange that he managed to hide the substance.