Three members of a Malian security forces were ordered into custody by Malian judges last week. More than a dozen others were called in for questioning for their alleged role in the enforced disappearances of at least 20 soldiers tied to a coup in 2012.
"The courageous work of Malian authorities investigating this prominent case is a significant and encouraging advance for justice in Mali," Corinne Dufka, a researcher on West Africa at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Friday.
At least 20 soldiers taking part in an April 2012 coup disappeared after they were taken into custody by soldiers supporting a political upheaval the month prior. Mali descended into chaos following the competing coups. Al-Qaida and its sympathizers later took control over parts of the country in the ensuing political vacuum.
Human Rights Watch said it had evidence some of the soldiers were subjected to torture by their counterparts. Many of the captured soldiers remain missing. It said there are unconfirmed reports some of them were summarily executed.