The Hague: A war crimes trial begins on Monday for the most senior political figure in the custody of the International Criminal Court.
He is Jean-Pierre Bembe, a former vice president of Congo who is being held to account for mass rape and murder of civilians by his followers in the neighboring Central African Republic.
The trial is only the third to get under way at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. It also is the first to focus on charging a military leader for crimes committed by his troops and on the use of widespread rape as a weapon of war.
Prosecutors say Bemba allowed his personal militia, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo, to run amok in Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003.