Egypt's civil judiciary on Monday decided to probe accusations against the two main former military rulers over the killings of protesters during last year's transitional period after the fall of Hosni Mubarak.
Tharwat Hammad, a Cairo appeals court judge, has been appointed to look into accusations against ex-defence minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and former chief-of-staff Lieutenant General Sami Anan, state news agency MENA reported.
Tantawi was the head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) that ruled Egypt after Mubarak's fall on February 11, 2011, until Islamist President Mohamed Morsi took office on June 30.
Several human rights groups, particularly Amnesty International, have accused the military of being responsible for violent repression of demonstrations opposing the military's powers during the transition.
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The investigation will be the first time that a civilian judge conducts proceedings against Tantawi and Anan in a country where past cases involving the military have been investigated by military courts.
On August 12, the newly elected Morsi boosted his authority by retiring both Tantawi and Anan and scrapping a constitutional document that gave the military legislative and other powers.
Both men were given Egypt's most prestigious award, the Greatest Nile Collar, and retained as presidential advisers.
However, there have been calls for Tantawi and Anan to face trial, particularly from among the ranks of leftist movements and from movements involved in the revolt against Mubarak.
Mubarak, himself a former general, is now serving a life sentence handed down in June for his involvement in the deaths of protesters during the uprising against his regime in early 2011.