In 2001, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo founded the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC) and was commander in chief of its armed wing, the FPLC (Forces Patriotiques pour la Liberation du Congo).

Active in North Kivu, the group was involved in human rights violations including ethnic killings, torture, sexual violence and mutilations - all qualifying as crimes against humanity and war crimes. It is alleged that 3,000 child soldiers were recruited into the ranks of the FPLC. The group is now estimated to number a few hundred fighters.

On 17 March 2006, Lubanga was the first person arrested under a warrant issued by the ICC. His trial began in 2009 and was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2012 for war crimes including recruiting child soldiers and forcing them to fight in a war.

Armed groups in DRC
Thomas Lubanga, former leader of the UPC, talks to villagers near the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo town of Bunia in Ituri district in this June 2003 file photo. He was sentenced in July 2012 to 14 years in prison for using child soldiers. REUTERS/Antony Njuguna/Files