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War crimes court to begin hearing first-ever case today

The International Criminal Court set up a number of years ago to deal with suspected war criminals is due to begin hearing its first-ever case today.

The Hague-based court was established in 2002 to hear war crimes cases in situations where national judicial systems are unwilling or unable to investigate and prosecute suspected perpetrators.

It begins pre-trial hearings today in the case against Thomas Lubanga, a militia leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Lubanga is accused of conscripting child soldiers to fight in the brutal war in the north-east of the African country and faces a possible life sentence if convicted.

This week's hearing will determine if there is enough evidence to proceed with a full trial, which could last for several months.

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