Argentine ex-dictator Jorge Videla accepted responsibility Tuesday for his regime's actions the day before a court decides whether to hand him a life sentence for killing dissidents.
'I assume full responsibility.... My subordinates were only following orders,' Videla, 85, said in a halting 49-minute speech to a civilian court in the central Argentinian city of Cordoba.
But the defiant former army general also said he considered himself a political prisoner who had been unjustly convicted.
'I claim the honor of victory and I regret the consequences,' Videla said, as he referred to Argentina's dirty war in the 1970s as a fight against 'subversives.'
The military strongman who ran Argentina between 1976 and 1981 has been on trial for the past five months in connection to the murders of 31 opponents of his regime.
Earlier this week, prosecutors said they would seek life imprisonment, the harshest penalty allowed under the law.
Videla is one of 30 people being tried for the execution of political prisoners after a 1976 coup that toppled the government of Isabel Peron and brought a military junta to power.
The brutal regime was accused of making some 30,000 people 'disappear,' including by throwing them from aircraft in night flights over the sea.
The trial began July 2 with Videla acknowledging responsibility for actions carried out under his rule but refusing to recognize the court.
The former strongman was previously tried and sentenced in 1985 to life in prison, but was pardoned five years later by then-president Carlos Menem.
A 2007 verdict finding Videla's pardon unconstitutional set the scene for the new trial, which included charges that his regime stole babies from dissident prisoners.
Along with Videla, prosecutors are also trying General Luciano Menendez, 83, who as head of the army's third corps was responsible for 11 provinces and has already been sentenced to three life terms for rights violations.
At a separate trial Tuesday, three former military officials of the regime each received life in prison for crimes against humanity, including "unlawful deprivation of liberty" and "aggravated torture."
More than 130 people have been convicted of crimes committed during the military dictatorship, according to a report published last moth, with dozens more currently on trial.