Kenyan High Court Blocks Planned Deployment of Police to Haiti

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The Nairobi High Court in Kenya has rejected the government’s plan to deploy Kenyan police officers to Haiti, citing a lack of a “reciprocal arrangement” with the host government. The ruling, delivered by Judge Enock Chacha Mwita on Friday, specified that deployment abroad could only involve defense forces, not security services.

Last year, the same court had suspended the government’s initiative to send 1,000 police officers to Haiti after three petitioners, including opposition politician and constitutional lawyer Ekuru Aukot, argued that the proposed deployment was unconstitutional.

Kenya

The court’s decision comes despite the United Nations Security Council’s approval in October of a Kenya-led multinational security force aimed at addressing the escalating violence caused by gangs in Haiti. Other African nations, such as Chad, Senegal, and Burundi, have expressed their commitment to contributing troops to the multinational force.

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President William Ruto, who had previously defended Kenya’s lead role in the mission, emphasized its humanitarian nature, stating, “It’s a mission for humanity and … is of special significance and critical urgency” for Kenyans.

The situation in Haiti has continued to deteriorate, with recent incidents including a heavily armed gang besieging a hospital in the capital, Port-au-Prince. The Kenyan court’s ruling reflects not only a constitutional concern but also a broader debate within Kenya about its involvement in the mission.

As violence persists in Haiti and criminal gangs grow more powerful since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, the international community grapples with finding effective ways to address the escalating crisis.

The head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime warned of a “vicious cycle” of arms trafficking contributing to the worsening violence in Haiti, while the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Jean Victor Geneus, has reiterated the plea for international intervention to curb the barbaric gang violence reminiscent of war zones.

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