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ICC set to start first war crimes case against Congolese defendant

[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] at The Hague will begin proceedings at an arraignment Monday against its first defendant, Thomas Lubanga [Trial Watch backgrounder], founder of Congolese rebel group the Union of Patriotic Congolese [Global Security backgrounder]. Lubanga was flown to the Netherlands and received into the custody of the court [JURIST report] on Friday after being removed from a prison in Kinhasa in what DRC Justice Minister Honorius Kisimba Ngoy Ndalewe disapprovingly called a "commando" act [Xinhua report]. ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] said Saturday that Lubanga's arrest warrant [PDF, French] covers crimes committed after July 1, 2002, when the ICC came into existence, and one charge in the indictment will relate to the enforced recruitment of child soldiers. Lubanga will be charged under Article 8, the war crimes provision of the ICC's governing Rome Statute [PDF, English].

Moreno-Ocampo also said that prosecutors are ready to go to trial and that the proceedings will be shorter than those at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [official website], which recently suffered a setback with the death of Slobodan Milosevic in the fifth year of his trial for genocide and war crimes. AP has more.

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