Kenya’s High Court Blocks Police Deployment to Haiti

In a significant legal development, Kenya’s High Court has ruled against the government’s proposal to deploy police officers to Haiti as part of a United Nations-backed mission. This decision, announced on January 26, 2024, is a response to the plan for Kenyan forces to lead a multinational team aimed at curbing gang violence in Haiti.

Justice Enock Chacha Mwita deemed the deployment unconstitutional, labeling it “unconstitutional, illegal, and invalid”. He stated, “Any decision by any state organ or state officer to deploy police officers to Haiti… contravenes the constitution and the law.” Consequently, he issued an order prohibiting the deployment of police forces to Haiti or any other country.

This ruling comes despite the UN Security Council’s approval for the Kenya-led mission in Haiti. The Haitian government had been urgently calling for a multinational force to support their local police in battling widespread violence. Haiti, grappling with severe economic and public health crises, has seen a surge in gang-related violence since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise nearly three years ago.

The Kenyan government, through its spokesperson Isaac Mwaura, expressed its intention to legally challenge this ruling, stating, “While the government respects the rule of law, we have however made the decision to challenge the high court’s verdict forthwith.”

Kenya’s President William Ruto had previously described the mission as a “mission for humanity,” highlighting Kenya’s history of contributing to international peacekeeping efforts. The planned deployment, which faced domestic opposition, was to include up to 1,000 officers. Other nations, including Chad, Senegal, Jamaica, Belize, the Bahamas, and Antigua & Barbuda, had pledged officers for the coalition, amounting to approximately 3,000 personnel.

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