Cambodian Khmer Rouge's last two surviving leaders Nuon Chea, the regime's number two leader and Khieu Samphan, its head of state, defended themselves denying charges of crimes against humanity and distanced themselves from the deaths under the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. A verdict in the case which began two years ago is expected in early 2014.
BBC reports that Nuon Chea (87) and Khieu Samphan (82) who have defended themselves in the past claimed they believed they were acting in the nation's best interest and were not aware of the full extent of killings that happened in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge.
Over two million people are believed to have died at the time due to atrocities committed under the communist regime of Khmer Rouge.
"It is easy to say that I should have known everything, I should have understood everything, and thus I could have intervened or rectified the situation at the time,'' Khieu Samphan said in his closing statements at the U.N.-backed tribunal in the capital, Phnom Penh; report BBC quoting Associated Press.
"Do you really think that that was what I wanted to happen to my people?"
"The reality was that I did not have any power," he said.
Former Khmer Rouge leader ''Brother Number Two'' Nuon Chea (C) is seen at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court
s of Cambodia (ECCC), in the outskirts of Phnom Penh in this handout picture dated October 31, 2013. Khmer Rouge war crimes tribunal is hearing closing arguments in the court's biggest case - known as Case 002 - after lengthy hearings into one of the darkest chapters of the 20th century. Between 1.7 and 2.2 million people died between 1975 and 1979 under the ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge regime. The case's remaining defendants in the court - ''Brother Number Two'' Nuon Chea and ex-president Khieu Samphan - will make their presentations in response to criminal charges - crimes against humanity in relation to the alleged forced evacuation of population out of cities and the alleged execution of former government soldiers when they took over in 1975. (REUTERS/Mark Peters/ECCC/Handout via Reuters)
The other surviving defendant in the case, Nuon Chea - also known as Brother Number Two - said he never ordered regime cadres "to mistreat or kill people to deprive them of food or commit any genocide."
He, however, accepted "moral responsibility" for the deaths.
"I would like to sincerely apologize to the public, the victims, the families, and all Cambodian people," he said, reports BBC.
"I wish to show my remorse and pray for the lost souls that occurred by any means" during the Khmer Rouge rule, Mr Chea is reported to have told the court.
The history of the case dates back to the Maoist regime popular known as Khmer Rouge led by Saloth Sar better known as Pol Pot which ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. The Regime abolished religion, schools and currency, and forced an estimated 1 million people out of the capital to the countryside in an effort to create a communist agrarian utopia. Up to two million people are thought to have died of starvation, overwork or by execution. The regime was defeated in a Vietnamese invasion in 1979 and Pol Pot fled the country. He remained free until 1997 and died a year later.
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