An official in Mali's ministry of justice confirms that the man who led last year's coup that reversed two decades of democratic rule has been summoned by the judiciary, following accusations he ordered the killing and torture of soldiers who did not back his rise to power.

The official, who could not be named because proceedings have not been made public, said Friday the judge has collected evidence of serious abuses by Gen. Amadou Haya Sanogo, who allegedly took part in the torture of his opponents. Sanogo's spokesman, Lt. Mohamed Coulibaly, denied the charges.

Corinne Dufka, senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, applauded the move, and confirmed that in addition to Sanogo, the judge issued a mandatory summons for 16 other soldiers implicated in crimes since Sanogo's March 2012 coup.