The Khmer Rouge's former number two leader denied charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in his final statement at a United Nations-backed tribunal in Cambodia Thursday.
Nuon Chea told the Phnom Penh court he felt the "deepest remorse" for the victims of the Khmer Rouge, but insisted he never told any of his communist cadres to commit crimes.
The 87-year-old, who served as the Khmer Rouge's chief ideologue, insisted he was carrying out his duty to serve his country and what he called his "beloved people."
Khieu Samphan, the movement's 82-year-old former head of state, is also giving his final statement Thursday. The two men are the most senior living ex-leaders of the Khmer Rouge, which is blamed for the deaths of as many as 2 million Cambodians during its four-year rule.
Prosecutors are seeking the maximum punishment of life in prison for both men, who deny the charges and say they were not aware of the atrocities that took place under their rule. A verdict in the trial is expected in the first half of next year.