SEOUL, The military and prosecution on Thursday launched a joint probe team to look into the allegations that a defense unit drew up a document over the possible invocation of martial law to quash anti-government protests last year.

The 31-member team will investigate the Defense Security Command (DSC) under fire for exploring possible military steps to handle the protests in case a court ruling over the fate of then corruption-tainted President Park Geun-hye unleashed unrest.

The team is jointly led by Air Force Col. Jeon Ik-soo and Roh Man-seok of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office. It opened offices inside the building of the Seoul Eastern District Prosecutors' Office.

"The joint investigation team will carry out a thorough probe to verify the truths behind various speculations regarding the martial law document of the DSC," the team said in a press release.

The unclassified version of the DSC document included steps to hold sway over media, parliament and the spy agency under martial law. These steps were heavily criticized as a potential threat to the country's democracy.

The case has drawn the ire of the public, as critics say that the use of the military to curb public rallies runs counter to democratic principles, and it could mark another case of political interference by the military.

Some even called the DSC document part of preparations for a military insurrection, while conservatives argue that the military is entitled to craft measures to prepare for any scenario that could compromise national security.

Source: Yonhap News Agency