A Malian court began a trial of former coup leader General Amadou Sanogo on Wednesday.
The coup leader will face charges of complicity in kidnapping and assassination.
Sanogo led a coup in March 2012 against former President Amadou Toumani Toure that led the country plunging into chaos. The situation enable Tuareg rebels and Islamist militants to take over the north and killing of 21 soldiers.
Sanogo was arrested in December 2013.
Government security forces in the same month March 2012) found a mass grave believed to contain the bodies of missing soldiers. He is accused alongside 17 others of involvement in their deaths and faces a possible death penalty.
Rights watch groups have welcomed the trial as a rare case of justice involving a high profile figure in a region where abuses by military strongmen often go unpunished.