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Congo militia leader makes first appearance at ICC

[JURIST] As anticipated [JURIST report], Thomas Lubanga [Trial Watch backgrounder], founder of the militant Union of Patriotic Congolese [Global Security backgrounder], appeared in the International Criminal Court [official website; JURIST news archive] at The Hague Monday, accused of using child soldiers [BBC report] in the violence-plagued Ituri district [HRW backgrounder]. In court the defendant confirmed his identity and heard his rights before he refused to hear the charges against him. His next hearing is scheduled for June 27 [ICC press release], at which point the court will specify the exact charges Lubanga faces.

Pressure to arrest warlords in the mineral-rich Ituri district increased with the February 2005 murder of nine UN peacekeepers [PBS report]; a month later Lubanga was arrested for human rights violations [JURIST report]. Congolese officials sent Lubanga to The Hague [JURIST report] last week, making him the first prisoner of the tribunal. Reuters has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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