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Trial next year for UK officer who opposed legality of Iraq war

[JURIST] Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith, an officer in Britain's Royal Air Force [official website], will face a court-martial next year on five counts of disobeying a lawful command and could be jailed for refusing to serve in Iraq. Earlier this year, Kendall-Smith refused to attend preliminary training and briefings in preparation for his posting to Basra because, after studying the UK government's legal case for the Iraq war [PDF text], he concluded that the war was illegal. His military trial will begin March 15, and Kendall-Smith is expected to argue that under an RAF manual, a serving officer is justified in refusing to obey a command if the command is illegal. Kendall-Smith, who was suspended in June and charged [JURIST report] in October, is the first British officer to face criminal charges after challenging the conflict's legality. Thursday's Telegraph has more.

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