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A British court martial of New Zealander Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith will begin on Thursday (local time), when he will become the first British officer to face criminal charges for challenging the legality of the Iraq war.
But the Royal Air Force (RAF) doctor - who is alleged to have refused to return to Iraq because of his belief that the invasion of the Middle Eastern country was illegal - and his New Zealand-educated Queen's Counsel, Philip Sapsford, are expected to take the fight to the heart of Britain's Government.
Mr Sapsford said a key issue in the case will be whether Britain formally declared war on Iraq, and whether the subsequent actions of British soldiers were outside the legal confines of an act of war.
Flt Lt Kendall-Smith has already served in Afghanistan and on two tours of duty in Iraq but has refused to travel to the troubled Middle Eastern country for a third time, because he believes the British Government has no legal authority for the war it is waging there.
He refused to return to Basra - where two contingents of New Zealand engineers served - after British Attorney-General Lord Peter Goldsmith claimed that coalition forces were administering Iraq without lawful authority.