Karadžić "practiced alternative medicine"

BELGRADE -- Radovan Karadžić lived in Belgrade with an assumed identity, and practiced alternative medicine, said Rasim Ljajić.

Karadžić, aka Dragan Dabić, speaks in a forum dedicated to healthy lifestyles (Photo courtesy of Zdrav Život)
Karadžić, aka Dragan Dabić, speaks in a forum dedicated to healthy lifestyles (Photo courtesy of Zdrav Život)

A joint news conference held by the president of the National Council for Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal and War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukčević, heard that Karadžić worked at a private Belgrade surgery under the alias of Dragan David Dabić.

It was added that he had been arrested last night in Belgrade while moving from one location to another.

Vukčević and Ljajić said that the operation had begun yesterday afternoon, and that preparations had begun some time earlier. They confirmed that Karadžić had chosen to remain silent for the most part, and that he had been handed his Tribunal indictment.

Ljajić said that a group of people had been followed, who were suspected of being part of the fugitive's support network, and that this was how Karadžić had been apprehended.

Ljajić said Karadžić, who is not a Serbian national, had been using forged documents under the name of Dragan David Dabić.

Vukčević said that he had been very convincing in hiding his true identity, had practiced alternative medicine, which was how he had earned money, and that he had worked in a private doctor’s surgery. Neither the surgery’s employees nor his landlord had even known of his true identity.

His last place of residence was New Belgrade. He had moved freely through the city, and had appeared in public places.

A photograph of Karadžić was shown with long grey hair, a long grey beard and moustache, and spectacles.

The suspect was arrested in the outskirts of Belgrade while moving to a different location. The Action Team waited for Karadžić to move to avoid any collateral damage, in which, they said, they had been successful.

Ljajić and Vukčević stated that they could not give any more information, as a reconstruction of the suspect’s movements was still ongoing that could be of help in the hunt for the remaining two fugitives.

“This shows that we’re not choosing either the place or time for arresting suspects. There was international pressure to arrest Mladić, not many people expected Karadžić’s arrest. But operative knowledge led to his location and arrest,“ the president of the National Council explained.

Earlier in the day Karadžić was questioned by the investigative judge at the Belgrade District Court.

Quietude and tea in Terazije

'D.D. David' business card
'D.D. David' business card

The story that is emerging detailing Karadžić's years as a fugitive shows that he opted to "hide in plain sight", taking part in forums and lectures that gathered up to several hundred people, and writing as contributor for the Zdrav Život (Healthy Life) magazine.

Karadžić introduced himself as a psychology and bio-energy researcher.

His editor at Healthy Life, Goran Kojić, was today stunned to find out that he published articles written by a man accused of grave war crimes.

"He would come and communicate with me personally, and it's really interesting that I never saw in that man… that it was the last thing on my mind, that this was Radovan Karadžić. We never discussed politics or anything of the sort either," Kojić told journalists today.

"He offered me an article that speaks about similarities and differences between meditation and tihovanje [quietude]. I thought the text was really good and published it in several parts in our magazine," he continued.

"This was the impression: that he was eloquent, well-acquainted with our area, alternative [medicine], that he on the one hand oozed cheerfulness and positive energy, but on the other had a depth about him, which is characteristic of psychotherapists, which is how he introduced himself," Kojić revealed.

Kojić said he met Karadžić in the fall of 2007, and saw him last a month ago. Thrilled at Karadžić's knowledge, the editor said that although he planned to keep him on as expert contributor, he was "somewhat suspicious" because basic proof of the man's identity was missing.

Karadžić told him that his university degree was with his ex-wife in the United States, and because of lack of proof that he was in fact a doctor and neuropsychiatrist, the magazine introduced him as "a spiritual researcher".

Karadžić, under his Dragan David Dabić alias, also took part in this year's Festival of Healthy Lifestyles, held in Belgrade's riverside resort of Ada Ciganlija.

His lecture at the gathering was entitled, "How to cherish own energies", it has emerged today.

An anonymous source that took part in the festival told B92 that she "had tea with Dr. Dabić several times in Terazije [downtown Belgrade]", where he "took walks".

She described his Serbian as being "without a Bosnian accent", while Karadžić said he was a Belgrade native. The former Republic of Srpska president also revealed to her that he used to be a clinical psychiatrist.

"He held exceptionally good lectures, that would draw from 200 to 400 people, which I attended," our source said.

Biography

Radovan Karadžić was born in the village of Petnica, municipality of Nikšić, Montenegro, on June 19, 1945.

He is a psychiatrist, who became politically active in 1990, when he was elected president of the Serb Democratic Party (SDS) in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Karadžić was elected president of the Republic of Srpska (RS) on May 12, 1992 and remained in the post until June 30, 1996.

The International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) issued the first indictment against him was on July 24, 1995, and had since been on the run.