The legal system is basically French in civil law, with important customary-law modifications. The High Court of Justice, which is appointed by the National Assembly from among its own membership, is empowered to try the president and members of the government for crimes or offenses committed in performance of their official duties. Defendants and prosecutors may appeal verdicts from lower courts, first to the Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court, which sits as the highest court of appeal. The Constitutional Court has jurisdiction over electoral and constitutional matters, including ruling on the constitutionality of laws and ordinances, as well as compliance with international treaties and agreements. The court is comprised of seven members.
Traditional and customary courts hear cases involving divorce or inheritance. There are no religious courts. Customary courts, located in larger towns and cities, are presided over by a legal practitioner with basic legal training who is advised about local tradition by a local assessor. The actions of chiefs in traditional courts and of the presiding practitioner in customary courts are not regulated by the code provisions. Appeals can be taken from both customary and traditional courts to the formal court system.
The government has also established a Court of State Security to try crimes against the state.