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'I knew Dragan Dabic'

Nick Medic is a Bosnian whose wife was treated by Radovan Karadzic in his guise as alternative health practitioner Dragan Dabic.

Mr Medic spoke to the BBC's World Today programme about his shock at discovering the bio-energy healer was actually a top fugitive wanted for war crimes.


My mother told me that she had met this dashing, very interesting, charismatic man, he has a very eccentric bearing, an eccentric way of dressing but in a positive sense, an original sort of appearance. He came from America, where he practised psychiatry, he decided to come back and spend his retirement in the old country.

Radovan Karadzic in 1992 (left) and in a recent photo released on 22 July 2008
Radovan Karadzic in 1992 (left) and in a photo released on 22 July 2008

She was introduced to him by some friends. She said 'When you come back to Belgrade, you must visit'. So it was in 2007, last year. I was in her office and this man - a tall man with a long white flowing beard and a straw hat, dressed in black - came in and we shook hands.

To me he looked like one of those people who went on the hippy trail in the sixties and picked up all these sorts of alternative ideas. But nothing really struck me about him as peculiar. There is nothing in my mind, looking back, that can connect these two people - nothing. The speech is different - accent, dialect, bearing. I spoke to him, we struck up a conversation.

He immediately started talking about energies and how everything is energy and he is interested in healing and he started advancing these theories, but that sort of thing holds no interest for me.

The thing is, what struck me later was that there was nothing really that you could latch onto with this person, it was all a bit vague.

When people sometimes talk to you, they emphasise things, they make gestures, they look you in the eye. He was a bit bland. One day I walked into my mum's office and he was there, loading these MP3s on her computer - classical music.

He was a man of refinement, he knew many things - he knew about psychiatry , psychology, music, literature, classical music, baroque music. He was a man of some taste.

On a couple of occasions we were sitting together and what really strikes me is that I've never met Radovan Karadzic in the flesh, but it did strike me that he looked taller now than what he seemed to look on TV.

'Bio-energetic massage'

He treated my wife. He apparently developed this ability to treat using bio-energy - it's a way of directing your own inner energies healing another person by layer of hands. It was a massage but not in any way a physical, therapeutic massage. It was more like a bio-energetic massage.

My wife said that when she saw him the first time, she said she didn't like him at all, she thought he was a charlatan. She said she didn't feel any energy flowing out of him.

Radovan Karadzic speaks at a meeting, date and location unknown
Karadzic (right) spoke at a number of health seminars as Dragan Dabic

The peculiar thing about this person is that he started collecting acolytes, sort of followers, people who were keen to hear his theories.

The thing that now strikes me as peculiar is that superficial resemblances between these two people disappeared, but there were some deeper character traits which perhaps connected them, and one of them was the need to be in the public eye, to preach, to espouse these theories.

My father says that he was struck by his ability to listen to another person in conversation, patiently receptive - for Serbians this is a rare trait. He would sit there and even when they would touch on politics he wouldn't declare himself. He did say that to him, being a Serb was important and that out of all these different ideologies, the Serbian cause is precious and important.


I don't feel so uncomfortable at being handled by a fugitive or the second most wanted person - just basically that incongruity between Dragan and Radovan


It's peculiar that he actually talked about his family back in America and he said his wife and sons were there, but all that he had done was that he had transposed the family that lived in Sarajevo into this imaginary American setting, so all the while he was describing his Bosnian family he was talking about them as if they lived in America....

Before, I detested the man. He duped people. In February I was sitting with my father, I was in Belgrade and we were watching television.

An item came on about the Hague Tribunal and I said to my father: 'If you knew where these two were - would you turn them in?' He sat up, bolt upright and said, without a moment's hesitation, 'It would be my duty'. When I reminded him about this about two days ago he said: 'You know what? I could never turn this man in. Dragan is my friend. He is a good man.'

You have to understand. Belgrade is full of these quack doctors, snake-oil peddlers - it is a way of life.

I don't feel so uncomfortable at being handled by a fugitive or the second most wanted person - just basically that incongruity between Dragan and Radovan.

He produced these charms and amulets, apparently they offered some kind of protection, and one of them looked like a Christian cross, but the tips of this cross were actually bullets.




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