The judicial system is comprised of three tiers: municipal courts, district courts, and the Supreme Court. A constitutional court handles issues of constitutional interpretation, including protection of individual rights. The constitution directs the establishment of a people's ombudsman to defend citizens' fundamental constitutional rights; the office became functional in 1997. An independent Republican Judicial Council appoints judges, who are confirmed by parliament. The constitutional court has not yet rendered any decisions in the area of protection of individual rights or liberties. The constitution guarantees the autonomy and independence of the judiciary.