The forty-eight provincial courts have four divisions similar
to those of the Supreme Court: civil law, criminal law, administrative,
and accusation--or grand jury--courts. Civil cases may be referred
to the provincial courts by appeal from the tribunals. Criminal
cases can be of original or appellate review. Provincial courts
have original jurisdiction for serious crimes. The Chamber of
Accusation, serving as a grand jury, hears and charges a criminal
suspect. The defendant must then go before a criminal tribunal,
where a panel of three judges and four lay jurors hears the case.
Each dairah (pl., dawair; administrative district)
has at least one tribunal. The tribunals are courts of first instance
and cover civil and less serious criminal cases. They are intended
to be easily accessible to the general public and are relatively
informal in judicial practice. All of these courts are governed
predominantly by Islamic law.
Data as of December 1993