The trial of five men accused of fatally gang raping a 23-year-old girl in New Delhi begins today, with four crucial witnesses due to appear before the court.

The witnesses include the victim's male friend, who was also attacked by perpetrators during the incident. The 28-year-old software engineer arrived at the court in a wheelchair as he is still struggling to recover from his injuries.

Three other witnesses who were present at the scene of the crime on 16 December will also speak before the court. The trial will be held in-camera.

A statement from the victim, which she gave to the authorities before her death, is also considered vital evidence in the trial. The prosecution has called for 86 witnesses in total, and hopes to complete the hearing process within a month. The court will hear the case on a day-to-day basis.

The suspects face more than a dozen charges including murder, abduction, and destruction of evidence.

The five accused who face the trial in the special court could be given the death penalty if found guilty. All five suspects have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

The sixth suspect has yet to reach the age of majority and will be tried in a juvenile court. The incident has triggered widespread protests across India over the safety of women in the country.