An RAF doctor who refused to go to Iraq "honestly" believes the war is illegal, a court martial hearing was told.
Flt Lt Dr Malcolm Kendall-Smith is based at RAF Kinloss in Scotland
Flight Lieutenant Dr Malcolm Kendall-Smith refused to return to Iraq even though he had served two tours of duty in the country.
He faces five charges of failing to comply with a lawful order.
At a pre-trial hearing in Aldershot, defence counsel Philip Sapsford QC said the officer believed there was no lawful reason to enter Iraq.
He said that an attack on the UK or one of its allies was not imminent and so therefore the war was not lawful.
War 'is lawful'
"The flight lieutenant's case is that Iraq was and remains under occupation," said Mr Sapsford.
"If the UK is not entitled in international law to use force against Iraq, the flight lieutenant is entitled to say to this tribunal 'I hold that belief honestly and in these circumstances it's my duty to disobey these orders'."
Four of the charges faced by Dr Kendall-Smith, who is now based at RAF Kinloss in Scotland, relate to him refusing to carry out preparatory training with the final charge relating to his refusal to deploy.
The prosecution says that at the time of the officer's alleged offences the deployment of British forces in Iraq was and still is lawful and so the orders he was given should have been obeyed.
The five-day pre-trial hearing is likely to centre on the issues of the legality of the war in Iraq.
If the Judge Advocate rules that the war was lawful then the officer will go before a full court martial next month to face the charges.