Anyone who thinks that psychiatrists are murders and psychopaths need look no further than Radovan Karadzic, who until yesterday was Europe’s most wanted man and is now awaiting trial for war crimes in The Hague.
Karadzic was born on June 19, 1945, in Petnjica, Montenegro. He studied medicine at the University of Sarajevo during the 1960s. He also studied abroad researching neurotic disorders and depression at Næstved Hospital in Denmark in 1970, and during 1974 and 1975 he spent a year pursuing further medical training at Columbia University in New York.
After his return to Yugoslavia, he worked in the Koševo Hospital. During this time it is said that he often supplemented his income by issuing fake medical and psychological evaluations to healthcare workers who wanted early retirement or to criminals, who tried to avoid punishment by pleading insanity. Karadzic is married to a psychoanalyst, Ljiljana Zelen, the daughter of an established and wealthy Serb family. The couple have a daughter, and a son.
In 1983, Karadzic started working at a hospital in the Belgrade suburb of VoÅ¾dovac. With his partner MomÄilo Krajišnik, then manager of a mining enterprise Energoinvest, he managed to get a loan from an agricultural-development fund and used it to build themselves houses in Pale, a Serb populated village above Sarajevo turned into ski resort for Communist establishment (future capital of Republika Srpska). On 1 November 1984 the two were arrested for fraud and spent 11 months in detention before a friend managed to bail them out. Due to lack of evidence, Karadzic was released and trial was brought to a halt. The trial was revived and on 26 September 1985 Karadzic was sentenced to three years in prison for embezzlement and fraud. As he had already spent over a year in detention, Karadzic never had to serve this sentence.
During the 1970s and 1980s Karadzic worked at various medical posts, including the Zagreb Centre for Mental Health in Croatia, the Health Centre in Belgrade and as psychiatrist to the Sarajevo national soccer team. He also became a poet and fell under the influence of the Serbian writer Dobrica Cosic, who encouraged him to go into politics.
After working briefly for the Green Party, he helped set up the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) in 1990 in response to the rise of nationalist and Croat parties in Bosnia, and dedicated to the goal of a Greater Serbia.
Less than two years later, as Bosnia-Hercegovina gained recognition as an independent state, he declared the creation of the independent Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Hercegovina (later renamed Republika Srpska) with its capital in Pale, a suburb of Sarajevo, and himself as head of state. Mr Karadzic’s party, supported by Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, organised Serbs to fight against the Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia.
‘A vicious war ensued, in which Serbs besieged Sarajevo for 43 months, shelling Bosniak forces but also terrorising the civilian population with a relentless bombardment and sniper fire. Thousands of civilians died, many of them deliberately targeted.
Bosnian Serb forces – assisted by paramilitaries from Serbia proper – also expelled hundreds of thousands of Bosniaks and Croats from their homes in a brutal campaign of "ethnic cleansing". Numerous atrocities were documented, including the widespread rape of Bosniak women and girls.
Reporters also discovered Bosnian Serb punishment camps, where prisoners-of-war were starved and tortured. War crimes were also committed against Serb civilians by the Bosnian Serbs’ foes in the bitter inter-ethnic war – Europe’s bloodiest since World War II.
Mr Karadzic was jointly indicted in 1995 along with the Bosnian Serb military leader, Ratko Mladic, for alleged war crimes they committed during the 1992-95 war. He was obliged to step down as president of the SDS in 1996 as the West threatened sanctions against Republika Srpska, and later went into hiding. While on the run, he managed to get a book published in October 2004 by a former associate, Miroslav Toholj. Miraculous Chronicles of the Night, set in 1980s Yugoslavia, tells the story of a man jailed by mistake after the death of former Yugoslav strongman Josip Broz Tito.
In May 2005, investigators reported two separate sightings of Radovan Karadzic – allegedly with his wife Ljiljana in south-eastern Bosnia and then with his brother Luka in Belgrade – as his mother was dying of cancer in Niksic, Montenegro’
Before his arrest Karadzic was working as an alternative medical practitioner. A blog in theguardian suggests that this is sufficient to discredit alternative medicine as a whole. What rot! I’ve no time for alternative medicine, but damning it by association is unconvincing.
‘The Edge of Madness’ Ed Vulliamy in theguardian 23 July 2008
For anyone interested in genocide in general the following books are excellent
A Pulitzer prize winning account of the response of the United States to genocide over the past hundred years. Grimly gripping.
Brilliantly written book on the Rwandan genocide
Profile: Radovan Karadzic – poet, psychiatrist, war criminal The Times 22 July 2008
Radovan Karadzic Wikipedia entry
moreorless : heroes & killers of the 20th century Radovan Karadzic profile (great site, but a pity it cites no sources)