Serbia investigates how Karadzic was able to elude capture for more than a decade

Serbian authorities were investigating Thursday who helped ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic assume the false identity that allowed him elude capture on U.N. genocide charges for more than a decade.

Bruno Vekaric, spokesman for Serbia's war crimes prosecutor, said those people will be found and prosecuted. He added that investigators are also trying to determine the true identity of Dragan Dabic - the name Karadzic used during his 12-year run from justice.

Karadzic was captured in Belgrade on Monday and is awaiting extradition to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

According to Serbian officials, Dabic died in 1993 in Sarajevo. Serbian media reported that Dabic was a Serb fighter who died in the 1992-95 war.

But in Sarajevo, reports said he was a civilian killed by Karadzic's troops as they besieged the Bosnian capital during the war.

The discrepancies surfaced because there were several men with that name in Sarajevo at the time.

Vekaric refused to speculate. "There are seven Dragan Dabics in Sarajevo, dead or alive," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Vekaric said Karadzic obtained the false papers while former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's regime was still in power until its ouster in a popular revolt in October 2000.

He said the fake ID card bearing the name of Dragan Dabic was issued to Karadzic in Ruma, a town north of Belgrade, and a local notorious paramilitary commander there was apparently somehow involved in the paperwork.

The commander, Slobodan Medic, is now on trial in connection with the killings of about 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995 by Karadzic's troops.

Those suspected of helping Karadzic evade justice while on the run will be prosecuted, Vekaric said. He also hoped those helpers could be used to track down the remaining war crimes fugitives, including Bosnian Serb wartime military commander Gen. Ratko Mladic.

"The point is to finish The Hague story," he said, referring to the U.N. court, which has indicted both Karadzic and Mladic with genocide and crimes against humanity. "Whoever was helping Karadzic was committing a criminal act, and they know it."

Karadzic sent word he plans to defend himself against U.N. genocide charges. But his fellow Serbs were more enthralled with details that have emerged about his secret life: a mistress, a bogus family in the U.S., and regular visits to the Madhouse bar and its photo of his beardless days as wartime political leader of Bosnian Serbs.

With U.N. officials predicting Karadzic would be handed to the tribunal in the next few days, an attorney said the prisoner would handle his own defense, just like his former mentor Milosevic, who died in 2006 while on trial in The Hague.

Karadzic will do it looking like his old self, without the bushy white beard and long gray hair that hid his face when he was arrested by Serbian authorities, said his lawyer, Sveta Vujacic. Karadzic asked for and got a shave and a haircut on Wednesday.

Since the arrest was announced Monday, Serbs have been intrigued by how Karadzic transformed himself from a flashy suit-and-tie politician into a long-haired health guru living openly in their midst while being sought for alleged war crimes.

"His new life was fascinating. He hid in the open," said criminologist Leposava Kron.