The Democratic Republic of Congo has transferred a militia leader to the International Criminal Court in the Hague to face war crimes charges.

The head of the Union of Congolese Patriots, Thomas Lubanga, was being flown from the capital Kinshasa to the court's headquarters Friday.

The court issued an arrest warrant for Lubanga last month, but it was not made public until Friday. The court says there are reasons to believe Lubanga enlisted children under the age of 15 to participate in fighting.

The rebel leader is to become the first person processed by the court.

Lubanga has been detained in Kinshasa since his arrest in March 2005. His group, dominated by ethnic Hema rebels, is accused of committing widespread human rights violations in Congo's northeastern Ituri district.

Congo's five-year civil war ended in 2003.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.