Milan Panic, the controversial chairman of ICN Pharmaceuticals and onetime prime minister of Yugoslavia, said in a television appearance Monday that U.S. Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) is just steps away from becoming a war criminal because of his support of continued bombing by U.N. forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
He also said that three U.S. diplomats who died in an auto accident in Bosnia on Sunday were actually victims of a land mine blast. “It was not an accident, the road was mined,’ he insisted, although he did not provide any documentation.
Panic appeared on a 30-minute talk show on local cable television station OCN, whose host did not ask him to back up his contention that the deaths of diplomats Robert Frasure, Joseph Kruzel and Air Force Col. Samuel Nelson Drew were the direct result of the ongoing warfare in the former Yugoslavia.
The 66-year-old entrepreneur and sometime political figure also blamed the United States for not resolving the Bosnian conflict sooner and said the politicians should not be allowed to lead the peace effort because all they want to do is drop bombs.
He was particularly critical of GOP presidential candidate Dole, contending that he “preaches to bomb the people to teach them democracy. . . . If Mr. Dole talks more of bombing, three more times, I’m just waiting, [then] I may pronounce him a criminal, a war criminal,” Panic said.
The emotional statement came at the end of a lengthy proposal for “peace at almost any price” in the tumultuous Baltic region.
Panic, who was born in Belgrade and fled the country after World War II, said the ongoing warfare among Serbs, Muslims and Croats could have been ended two or three years ago.
“The people are for peace, Serbs, Croats and Muslims. The United States and the Western world doesn’t know how to put peace together,” he charged.
Later in the program, Panic, a Democrat, said he believes the Clinton Administration is “truly” attempting to find a peaceful solution to the Bosnian war.