Video: Karadzic caught hiding in plain sight

updated 7/23/2008 1:51:14 PM ET 2008-07-23T17:51:14

Radovan Karadzic's secret life included a mistress, a bogus family he claimed he left behind in the U.S., and frequent visits to a Belgrade pub called The Madhouse, acquaintances said Wednesday.

A lawyer for the former Bosnian Serb leader, who had a bushy white beard and long gray hair when he was captured Monday, said he had a shave and a haircut at his request.

"He looks like new, exactly the same, only 14 years older," said the lawyer, Sveta Vujacic.

Karadzic, arrested on U.N. genocide charges after nearly a decade on the run, had a girlfriend he presented as an associate at the alternative medicine clinic he owned, said Zoran Pavlovic, hired by Karadzic to set up a Web site.

Framed lies
Pavlovic told The Associated Press he visited Karadzic's apartment in New Belgrade and saw a framed photograph of four boys — all dressed in yellow L.A. Lakers T-shirts — who Karadzic said were grandsons living in America. But that was a lie.

Misko Kovijanic, who owns the bar in Karadzic's neighborhood, said Karadzic was a regular who liked to sip red wine in the tavern, which is decorated with photos of himself and fellow war crimes fugitive Gen. Ratko Mladic.

"I'm very proud that he came to my pub, and I'm very sad that he was arrested," said Kovijanic, who didn't realize his customer's true identity until after the arrest.

Karadzic will be handed over to the U.N. war crimes tribunal sometime in the next week, officials said, and his lawyer said he intends to defend himself there just like his mentor, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Bruno Vekaric, spokesman for Serbia's war crimes prosecutor, said Karadzic's extradition "could be Monday or Tuesday — but it could be earlier, too."

Plans to be defense lawyer
Vujacic said he will resist extradition. He also said Karadzic intends to defend himself during his trial before the U.N. tribunal, with the help of a team of legal advisers, just like Milosevic did. Milosevic died in 2006 while on trial in The Hague.

"He is telling me that he will prove his innocence by truth and that he is proud of what he had done and that he had been saving the Serb people from slaughter by Muslims and Croats," Vujacic said.

A Serb nationalist, Karadzic would be expected to portray his people as historic victims of their ethnic rivals. It is a line of defense that Milosevic regularly employed. Milosevic, acting as his own attorney, blended outbursts of nationalist rhetoric with hectoring of witnesses, and prosecutors and analysts said they expect much the same from Karadzic.

Most-wanted man
Depending on when he arrives at The Hague, Karadzic is expected to appear next week at a hearing, where he will be asked to enter pleas to the 11 charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Karadzic, who was captured Monday in Serbia after more than a decade on the run, has 30 days after his transfer to enter the pleas. If he refuses, judges will automatically enter not guilty pleas on his behalf.

The arrest of Karadzic, one of world's most-wanted men, was hailed by the U.S. and by European governments who applauded Serbia's new pro-Western leadership for the capture.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said no claim has been registered for the $5 million bounty the U.S. offered for Karadzic's arrest.

But in Belgrade, dozens of Serbian extremists took to the streets Tuesday, clashing with police during a protest in the capital.

'Hard day for Serbia'
Chanting "Treason!" the demonstrators threw stones and clay pots at riot police who cordoned them off. Five demonstrators and a policeman were injured.

"This is a hard day for Serbia," said Tomislav Nikolic, leader of the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party. "(Karadzic was) a legend of the Serbian people."

Nikolic vowed his party will do "all in its power" to topple the pro-Western government.

Serb officials say they arrested Karadzic on Monday evening near Belgrade. Karadzic had lived freely for months in the capital before he was captured, they said.

"His false identity was very convincing," said Vladimir Vukcevic, Serbia's war crimes prosecutor. "He had moved freely in public places."

While on the run in Serbia, he worked at a private clinic and wrote for a Belgrade magazine, according to Serbian officials.

To do all this, Karadzic used a false name — Dragan Dabic — government minister Rasim Ljajic told reporters Tuesday. Ljajic displayed a recent photo of an unrecognizable Karadzic with long, bushy white beard and gray hair.

'Historic moment'
Ljajic refused to reveal more details about Karadzic's arrest, saying his movements were being analyzed to help track down another top war crimes suspect still at large, Bosnian Serb wartime commander Ratko Mladic.

Karadzic appeared to be arrested because of a change in political will.

Serbian President Boris Tadic's pro-Western government came to power only two weeks ago and appointed a new security chief, replacing an aide to former nationalist prime minister Vojislav Kostunica.

European Union foreign ministers said the arrest helped Serbia's bid for membership in the bloc, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed Karadzic's capture as a "historic moment."

Karadzic's whereabouts had been a mystery since he went on the run in 1998; his early hideouts reportedly included monasteries and mountain caves in remote eastern Bosnia.

Karadzic's family in Bosnia, barred from leaving the country because of suspicions that they helped him elude capture, has asked to have those restrictions lifted, his daughter told The Associated Press.

More than 100,000 people died during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war, and 1.8 million others were driven from their homes.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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