Dutch prosecutors have called for a life sentence for a former member of an Ethiopian Marxist regime who is charged with involvement in the torture and murder of political prisoners in the 1970s.

The suspect, 63-year-old Eshetu Alemu, last week accepted blame for the crimes of the regime known as the Dergue nearly 40 years ago, but told judges in The Hague he did not carry out the crimes for which Dutch prosecutors hold him responsible.

Prosecutors on Wednesday insisted Alemu is guilty and called on the judges to convict him and hand down the maximum possible sentence. Defense attorneys are scheduled to make submissions Monday.

The Dergue was led by former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, who lives in exile in Zimbabwe. Mengistu was convicted in absentia in 2006 of genocide and later sentenced to death.