[JURIST] The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) [official website] has set April 2 as the tentative trial date for former Liberian President Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Justice Julia Sebutinde [official profile] announced the date Friday during a pretrial hearing in The Hague, expressing concern that Taylor be tried without "undue delay." Taylor has been in UN custody since shortly after he was captured while trying to flee Nigeria in March [JURIST reports]. Although Sebutinde stressed that the April date is meant "to assist the parties and the bench to work toward the final trial date" and subject to change, Taylor lawyer Karim Khan [JURIST report] said he doubted he could be ready for trial before September 2007 because of the large amount of evidence that prosecutors have turned over to the defense - more than 32,000 pages of documents.
Taylor was indicted [PDF text; SCSL materials] on charges of crimes against humanity and violations of international humanitarian law, including murder, rape and the recruitment and use of child soldiers during the war in Sierra Leone. Taylor was taken to The Hague in June after Britain promised to incarcerate him if he is convicted [JURIST reports]. SCSL officials predicted then that Taylor could be tried as early as January 2007 [JURIST report]. AP has more.