1) a military court for trying offenses in violation of army, navy or other armed service rules and regulations, made up of military officers, who act as both finders of fact (in effect, a jury) and as arbiters (judges) of the law applying to the case. a general court-martial is conducted by a military legal officer (judge advocate) and at least five officers for major offenses, including those requiring the death penalty. a special court-martial is generally for lesser offenses and is conducted by three officers, who may order dismissal, hard labor or lengthy confinement. minor offenses are conducted by a single officer in a summary court-martial. 2) to charge a member of the military with an offense against military law or to find him/her guilty of such a violation. a court-martial conviction can be appealed to the u.s. court of military appeals.