Malcolm Kendall

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British Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall or Malcolm Kendall-Smith is the first British military officer to refuse service in the War in Iraq because of objections to the legality of the war. Kendall stated that he did not want to be complicit in an act of aggression and states that, "the Americans were on a par with Nazi Germany with its actions in the Persian Gulf."

Background

Born in Australia in 1968 and raised in New Zealand, Kendall has dual British and New Zealand citizenship.

Court-Martial

In October 2005 Kendall's solicitor, Justin Hugheston-Roberts, told the Sunday Times that, "He is not arguing that he is a conscientious objector. He is arguing that the war is manifestly unlawful." In a statement to the court martial at a pre-trial hearing in Aldershot, on March 15, 2006, Kendall-Smith said: "I am a leader. I am not a mere follower to whom no moral responsibility can be attached."

Philip Sapsford, QC, defending, told the court martial: "The flight lieutenant is entitled to advance before this tribunal that the use of force in Iraq was unlawful in international law," reasoning that Kendall should be allowed to argue that any participation in the war effort was therefore unlawful Sapsford also said he was considering calling former SAS soldier Ben Griffin, who recently resigned because of his objections to the war, to testify.

Prosecutors argued that the legality of the invasion of Iraq was irrelevant and that the case should be confined to Kendall's disobedience of orders. Prosecutor David Perry argued that at the time Kendall refused to deploy, the invasion itself was over and British forces were in Iraq with the authority of U.N. Security Council resolutions passed after Saddam's fall. So in fact the prosecutors did argue the legality of the war.

Kendall was convicted on April 13, 2006 after a two day trial and sentenced to eight months imprisonment and dismissal from miltiary service.

References

  • Caroline Alexander. "U.K. Air Force Doctor Is Jailed for Refusing Iraq Mission." Bloomberg. April 13, 2006.
  • n.a. "RAF Doctor Jailed Over Iraq Refusal." Guardian Unlimited. April 13, 2006.
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