The Latest: Autopsy shows war criminal had cyanide in system

Bosnian Croat man Pero Pervisic , 49, friend of late Gen. Praljak, pays his respect in front of house where Gen. Slobodan Praljak was born, on the house are placed posters reading " Our Hero", in southern Bosnian town of Capljina 170 kms south of Sarajevo, on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. Gen. Praljak took his own life during sentence reading before The International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. Praljak was standing trial for war crimes committed in the name of Bosnian Croats, during 1992-95 war.(AP Photo/Amel Emric)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Latest on the dramatic death of a Croat ex-general (all times local):

9:20 p.m.

Prosecutors in the Netherlands say an autopsy on a former Croatian general who died after swallowing a liquid at a war crimes hearing showed he had cyanide in his system.

The Hague Public Prosecutor's Office said in a statement Friday night that preliminary results from a toxicological test revealed "a concentration of potassium cyanide" in Slobodan Praljak's blood.

The cyanide caused heart failure that the statement described as the 72-year-old Praljak's "suspected cause of death."

Praljak drank from a small bottle seconds after an appeals judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia confirmed his 20-year sentence for crimes during the 1992-95 Bosnian war

Two Croatian experts observed the autopsy at the tribunal's request.

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4 p.m.

Dutch prosecutors say that an autopsy has started on the body of a Croat ex-general who died shortly after swallowing a liquid he called poison during an appeals hearing at a U.N. war crimes tribunal.

In a tweet Friday, the Hague Public Prosecutor's Office said that two Croatian experts were present as observers at the autopsy of Slobodan Praljak, at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Results of the autopsy weren't immediately available.

Late Thursday, Croatia's Justice Minister Drazen Bosnjakovic said the country would ask Dutch authorities to be included in the ongoing investigation into Praljak's death.

Praljak drank from a small bottle seconds after an appeals judge at the tribunal had confirmed much of the 72-year-old former Bosnian Croat military commander's conviction and his 20-year sentence for crimes during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. The tribunal said he later died in a Hague hospital.

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12 p.m.

The U.N.'s Yugoslav war crimes tribunal is launching an independent review into the court's "internal operations" around the dramatic death of a Croat ex-general who swallowed what he said was poison in the tribunal's courtroom and later died.

In a statement Friday, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia said its review will complement an ongoing Dutch investigation into the death of Slobodan Praljak.

Praljak drank from a small bottle seconds after an appeals judge at the tribunal had confirmed much of the 72-year-old former Bosnian Croat military commander's conviction and his 20-year sentence for crimes during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

The tribunal review will begin next week by Hassan Jallow, a former prosecutor with the U.N.'s Rwanda war crimes tribunal.

The court says Jallow "is mandated to undertake an assessment of relevant existing procedures as well as make any recommendations which may assist other courts in the future."

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11:35 a.m.

Croatia's justice minister says the country will seek answers from the U.N.'s Yugoslav war crimes tribunal about this week's dramatic death of a Croat ex-general, who died after drinking from a small bottle he said contained poison in the courtroom.

Drazen Bosnjakovic says Croatia will ask authorities in The Netherlands to be included in the ongoing investigation into the death Wednesday of Slobodan Praljak.

Bosnjakovic told Croatia's state TV late Thursday that "much remains unclear, including how the poison was taken in, why security didn't react in time and why medical help arrived so late." He adds Croatia wants "all facts cleared about this tragic event."

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia confirmed Praljak's conviction and 20-year sentence for war crimes during the 1992-95 conflict in Bosnia.

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