The fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ituri region has centred around control of one of the most lucrative gold-mining territories in the world.

Much of the fighting there has been between the UPC, composed mainly of ethnic Hema, and people from the Lendu ethnicity, laregly represented by a group called the Nationalist and Integrationist Front.

Child soldiers

The trial, the first at the court since it came into operation in July 2002, is set to open with a statement by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC's chief prosecutor, followed by lawyers for 93 alleged victims and then the defence.

IN VIDEO

Lubanga goes on trial at ICC

The first witness, a former child soldier, is expected to take the stand on Wednesday, followed by his father.

The prosecution has listed 34 witnesses, including former child soldiers, ex-members of groups involved in the Ituri fighting.

The prosecution also plans to call on an array of experts in such speciality areas as determining the age of a child from x-rays of bones.

Lubanga, who is being held at a UN detention centre in the seaside suburb of Scheveningen in The Hague, has been declared destitute by the court, which is paying for his defence team.

The International Criminal Court is the world's first permanent tribunal to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

The trial is expected to last between six and nine months.