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Official: Karadzic hides in Belgrade with false identity
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08:47, July 23, 2008

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The newly arrested "top war crimes suspect" Radovan Karadzic had been hiding in Serbian capital Belgrade with false identity and posed as a doctor, Serbian officials said Tuesday.

"Karadzic had been using forged documents with the name Dragan Dabic," Rasim Ljajic, president of the Serbian National Council for Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal said at a news conference.

"Karadzic was not a Serbian citizen and he had been very convincing in hiding his true identity," said Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic who joined the conference.

Bosnian Serb wartime president Radovan Karadzic (R), posing as a doctor of alternative medicine called Dr. Dragan David Dabic and attending a medical lecture, is seen in this video grab released July 22, 2008. The footage released by Healthy Life Magazine was taken in January 2008.

"He made money by practicing alternative medicine in a private clinic in Belgrade; neither people in the clinic nor his landlord knew his true identity," Vukcevic said.

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

On a picture shown at the news conference, Karadzic was almost unrecognizable as a thin old guy with long gray hair and whiskers and glasses.

The former Bosnian Serb leader was arrested last night in Belgrade while moving to a different location, the two officials said, adding that the operation had begun yesterday afternoon and preparations had been underway some time earlier.

But they denied that the arrest was done by a chosen place and time, explaining that Karadzic's whereabouts were found out when security agents were following a group of people suspected of being part of the fugitive's support network.

"There was international pressure to arrest Mladic, not many people expected Karadzic's arrest. But operative knowledge led to his location and arrest," Ljajic said.

Ljajic and Vukcevic declined to reveal details of the arrest, saying a reconstruction of the suspect's movement was still ongoing which could be of help in the hunt for the remaining fugitives.

Karadzic was questioned by the investigative judge at Belgrade District Court earlier in the day, but he was silent for the most part, and he had been handed his Tribunal indictment.

Vukcevic said Karadzic will be extradited to the Hague Tribunal.

Karadzic has been on the run since July 1995 when he was indicted, together with his military commander Ratko Mladic, by The Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War.

His arrest is believed to be a clear sign of Serbia's newly formed pro-Western government to establish closer ties with the European Union, which has set full cooperation with the ICTY by arresting all the remaining top war crimes suspects as a condition for applying the pre-membership Stabilization and Association Agreement.


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