An appeals court in Cairo appointed a civilian judge to look into allegations that members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the former military administration, was tied to corruption and violence against civilian protesters in the country.
Joe Stork, deputy director of Middle East and North Africa affairs at Human Rights Watch, said a civilian investigation could be the first serious post-revolutionary step at addressing military impunity.
"Over the past year and a half, the military has been getting away with murder, torture, and sexual assault, because military investigators were unwilling to seriously investigate their own," Stork said in a statement from New York.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has appointed a fact-finding mission to investigate possible military and police abuses in the period from January 2011 until his election in June.
Amnesty International published reports in early October that highlight alleged unlawful killings, torture and other abuses at the hands of the military and police during SCAF's tenure.
The reports alleged that police abuse has been "endemic" since the 2011 revolution.