Created: Thu, 07 Aug 2014 01:15:17 EST
Updated: Thu, 07 Aug 2014 01:15:17 EST
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — U.N.-backed tribunal in Cambodia has sentenced two top Khmer Rouge leaders to life in prison on war crimes charges for their role in the country's 1970s terror.
The historic verdicts were announced Thursday against Khieu Samphan, the regime's 83-year-old former head of state, and Nuon Chea, its 88-year-old chief ideologue.
Both men, in dire health, have denied wrongdoing.
The charges centered on the forced exodus of millions of people from Cambodia's cities and towns, and an execution site in the northwest where thousands of people were shot and buried in mass graves.
About 1.7 million people died under their 1975-79 rule, through starvation, medical neglect, overwork and execution.