Belarus - Judicial system

The courts system consists of district courts, regional courts, and the Supreme Court. Higher courts serve as appellate courts but also serve as courts of first instance. There are also economic courts, and a Supreme Economic Court. Trials are generally public unless closed on grounds of national security. Litigants have a right to counsel and, in cases of need, to appointment of counsel at state expense.

The president appoints all district level and military judges. The 1996 constitution gives the president the power to appoint 6 of the 12 members of the Constitutional Court, including the chief justice. The Council of the Republic appoints the other remaining 6 members of the Constitutional Court. The judiciary is not independent and is under the influence of the executive. Legislation concerning independence of the judiciary was passed in 1995, but as of 2003, the laws were not implemented. The Constitutional Court was established in 1994, and adjudicates serious constitutional issues. The Constitutional Court has no power to enforce its decisions. Prosecutors are responsible to the Procurator General who is appointed by the Council of the Republic according to the 1996 constitution. The offices of prosecutors consist of district offices, regional and republic level offices.

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