The 1992 constitution established an independent judiciary and a number of autonomous institutions such as the Commission for Human Rights to investigate and take actions to remedy alleged violations of human rights. The new system is based largely on British legal procedures. The new court system consists of two levels: superior courts and lower courts. The superior courts include the Supreme Court, the Appeals Court, the High Court, and regional tribunals. Parliament has the authority to create a system of lower courts. The old public tribunals are being phased out as they clear their dockets.
The 1971 Chieftaincy Act gives the traditional courts powers to mediate local matters. Traditional courts in which village chiefs enforce customary tribal laws in resolving local divorce, child custody, and property disputes continue to operate alongside the new courts.
The constitution provides for an independent judiciary. However, in practice the judiciary is influenced on occasion by the executive branch, and is hampered by a lack of staff and financial resources. The government nominates any number beyond a minimum of 9 members to the Supreme Court, subject to parliament's approval.
Defendants have the right to have a public trial, to be presumed innocent, to have an attorney, and to cross-examine witnesses.