At the apex of the judicial system is the Supreme Court and beneath it are courts of appeal at Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso. Courts of the first instance in Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Ouahigouya, and Fada N'Gourma deal with cases involving civil, criminal, and commercial law, and a court at Ouagadougou specializes in common law. The courts of appeal are in the capital. Following the 1983 coup, the CNR created tribunals to try former government officials for corruption and mismanagement. These "people's tribunals" infringed to some degree on the functions of courts of the first instance. In 1993, the "people's tribunals" were abolished.
In addition to the courts described above, traditional courts at the village level apply customary law in cases involving divorce and inheritance. The legal system is based on the French civil law system and customary law. There is also a High Court of Justice to try the President and high government officials for treason or other serious crimes.
In June 1991, a new Constitution was adopted which provided a number of safeguards including a right to public trial, right to access to counsel and a right to appeal. In 1995, an Office of Ombudsman "Mediateur du Faso" was created for resolving disputes between the State and its citizens. Although the judiciary in operation is independent of the executive, the president has considerable power over appointment of judges.