The Court Martial of Malcolm Kendall-Smith


A court martial has considered the case of Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith, the first military officer charged with disobeying an order to serve in Iraq.  Kendall-Smith stated simply, ‘I am unable to comply with this order.’  He said that it was his duty under international law and under the laws of armed conflict not to obey the order to serve in Iraq, because that war was illegal.

The assistant judge-advocate Jack Bayliss ruled in court that the order to send the doctor to Iraq was in fact legal, on the grounds that the order came in May 2005, at a time when the presence of British troops had been authorised by the UN and supported by the Iraqi government.  This admission that the war required UN authorisation before it became legal betrays the belief of the judge-advocate himself that the war, that had been waged without UN sanction, had been illegal, and reinforces Kendall-Smith’s judgement.  Nevertheless on 13th April Kendall-Smith was found guilty and sentenced to 8 months in prison, and ordered to pay £20,000 fine. 


Military Families Against the War has launched a new petition in support of Flight Lieutenant Dr Malcolm Kendall-Smith. Please sign and distribute.  The petition can be found at:

You can also send messages of support to Malcolm via his solicitor: or use the online comments page at http://


Send a message of protest to John Reid at: