The judicial system is based on French civil law, customary law, and decree; legal codes are under revision, and Guinea has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. In 1958 and 1965, the government introduced some customary law, but retained French law as the basic framework for the court system.
The system is composed of courts of first instance, two Courts of Appeal (in Kankan and in Conakry) and the Supreme Court. There is also a State Security Court (Cour de Sûreté de l'Etat), which tried the 1985 coup plotters, and conducted the Alpha Condé trial in 1999/2000. The legality of this court was debated in the February 1996 putsch. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of its validity since it predated the 1990 constitution, and the constitution failed to specifically address its existence. A military tribunal exists to handle criminal cases involving military personnel.
A traditional system of dispute resolution exists at the village and neighborhood level. Cases unresolved at this level may be referred to the courts for further consideration. The traditional system has been found to discriminate against women.
Although the 1990 constitution guarantees the independence of the judiciary, magistrates have no tenure and are susceptible to influence by the executive branch. The penal code provides for the presumption of innocence, the equality of citizens before the law, the right to counsel, and the right to appeal a judicial decision. This code is supported by the constitution, which provides for the inviolability of the home, and judicial search warrants are required by law. In reality, police and paramilitary personnel often ignore these legal protections.
In September 1996, the government announced the creation of a discipline council for dealing with civil servants who abuse their positions in the government. In June 1998, a special arbitration court was established to resolve business disputes.