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ICC may move Lubanga war crimes trial to DR Congo

[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] is investigating whether to move the war crimes trial of Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga [TrialWatch profile; JURIST news archive] to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) [JURIST news archive], ICC judge Adrian Fulford [official profile] said Tuesday. The announcement was made at pretrial hearings held at the ICC at The Hague, and comes more than a month after the ICC initially expressed a desire [JURIST report] to have the trial moved to the DRC. Fulford has said that, despite security concerns, he believed that the trial should be moved from The Hague to the DRC because it would resonate more with the people of that country if they could witness it first-hand. The trial is not expected to commence before the end of 2007.

The International Criminal Court confirmed war crimes charges against Lubanga in January, making him the first ICC defendant to face trial. As founder of the militant Union of Patriotic Congolese [Global Security backgrounder], Lubanga is accused [indictment, PDF; case materials] of enlisting child soldiers [BBC report] in the Democratic Republic of Congo's violence-plagued Ituri district [HRW backgrounder]. AP has more.

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