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28 Jul, 2008 01:08

'Karadzic slept in my back room' – faith healer

A panel of judges in Serbia's war crimes court has three days to decide if Radovan Karadzic is to be extradited to the UN tribunal in The Hague. He is accused of genocide during the Balkans war in the 1990s. RT looks at

Film producer and writer, Ninoslav Randjelovic, has devoted his professional life to searching for explanations for the bitter civil wars in the Balkans after the breakup of Yugoslavia.

He is now asking how long Radovan Karadzic was working in disguise as Dr Dragan Dabic. A major part of his new book is devoted to Karadzic’s life in hiding.

“It turns out that the longest people can remember seeing or talking to Mr Karadzic is a year-and-a-half, two years maybe,” Randjelovic said. “So I’m trying to find out the answer to the question – where has Mr Karadzic been, where has he been all these years.”

For 13 years he eluded some of the world’s best secret service agencies, only to be found living right under their noses in a working class neighbourhood of New Belgrade.

Randjelovic’s research has taken him on a journey into Karadzic’s mysterious past. His first stop was in the backroom of Dr Mina Minic, where Karadzic took his first steps as Dr Dabic.

“He was living and working here, sleeping in my back room. He was a good student. I wanted him to take over my work,” Dr Minic said.

In the last year Karadzic – or Dr Dabic – published three articles on meditation in the “Festival of Healthy Life” magazine. His editor, Goran Kojic, was just about to publish the final chapter – but now he doesn’t know what name to use.

“I’d never heard of Dr Dabic until nine months ago. I asked him for proof of his certificates but he always tried to avoid the topic. He told me his diplomas were with his wife in the United States,” Kojic said.

At night and on Saturdays the disguised Karadzic would drink in the “Crazy House” pub – again with the working class.

“The first time I noticed him coming here was a year-and-a-half ago. He was always nicely dressed, with a tie, educated, and eloquent. The cops often sat next to him and even they didn’t notice it was him,” one of the bar patrons recalls.

It's not the first time Karadzic has undergone a dramatic career change. Looking further back into the wartime leader's past, you find him changing the fortunes of one of Europe’s big football teams.

In 1979 Milan Jovin played for Red Star Belgrade. But the team was facing a losing streak – they hadn’t won a game in months.

“One day in 1983 our coach introduced us to a new psychologist – Mr Karadzic. He had this magnificent stature. He was big, tall. I didn’t pay much attention to what he told us but suddenly we were winning all our matches and at the end of the year we won the double,” Jovin recalls.

But now Karadzic faces his biggest battle. He says he will defend himself if he is tried before The Hague Tribunal. But it remains unclear whether his charisma and eccentricity will help him there.