Bakir Izetbegovic

Croat general performs ultimate act at war crimes trial

Slobodan Praljak, a former film and theater director turned wartime general, was always known for theatrics.

So, when the former Bosnian Croat military commander suddenly threw back his head and drank what he said was poison from a small bottle after his 20-year war crimes sentence was upheld by a U.N. court on Wednesday, many Croats watching the drama unfold on live TV thought it was yet another bluff.

But it wasn't. The 72-year-old silver-bearded Praljak died soon after being rushed from the U.N. tribunal to a nearby hospital.

The shocking scene was not unlike the suspenseful plays he once directed before becoming a military commander during the Balkan wars of the...