BELGRADE -- Monday – The Democratic Party has called upon the ruling Democratic Party of Serbia to step down in order to prevent Serbia from returning to a time of international isolation.

“The Democratic Party expresses a deep concern in the politics of the Serbian government which are taking eight million citizens into isolation and threatening to take Serbia back into the hell of the Milosevic era.“ Democratic Party representative Dusan Petrovic said, referring to the recent sanctions on aid the United States administration has imposed on Serbia due to its lack of cooperation with The Hague Tribunal.

Besides the US administration, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization lambasted the Serbian government as well last week regarding its relationship with the Tribunal. In its yearly report, the HRW said that there are 15 Hague suspects hiding out in Serbia and that Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic are traveling in between Serbia and the Republic of Srpska on a regular basis.

As a guest on Radio B92, HRW researcher Bogdan Ivanisevic explained on what facts the organizations reports were based.

"I, along with everyone else from the organization, cannot say that I have seen Mladic or Karadzic with my own eyes in some restaurant in Valjevo, Belgrade or anywhere else. But firstly, these are claims that are coming from The Hague Tribunal and from the court’s high representatives, and as for the claims of the government in Belgrade that they are untrue, that Mladic is not here, if we look to the past, we see that the government in Belgrade has definitely lost its credibility somewhere along the way.“ Ivanisevic said.

Arrests not an option
Regardless of the American administrations decision, the Serbian government is still insisting that it will wait for the Hague suspects to turn themselves in, according to Democratic Party of Serbia representative Andrija Mladenovic.

Arrests are not an option for the party, Mladenovic said, and said that the Tribunal’s understanding towards the Serbian government’s stance has been exhibited. He added that if the government started to arrest and extradite the Hague suspects, it would lead to the destabilization of the Serbian political system.

Mladenovic expects there will be voluntary surrenders in the near future. However, he could not say whether it will happen before January 27, when a delegation of the European Commission is scheduled to visit Belgrade.

Minister of Economy Predrag Bubalo said that Serbia is cooperating with the Tribunal, but at a slower rate than is needed, but also agreed that the immediate arrest and extradition of the indictees would lead to a destabilization of the nation and its institutions.