Kenya court rules Haiti police deployment is ‘illegal’Fri, 26 Jan 2024 12:30:50 GMT

A court in Kenya on Friday ruled against the government’s “illegal” decision to send a police contingent to Haiti to lead a UN-backed law and order mission in the gang-plagued Caribbean nation.The ruling throws into doubt the future of a multinational force long sought by Haiti’s government, which has pleaded for international help to confront violence that has left nearly 5,000 dead.The UN Security Council approved the mission in early October. But concerns in Kenya over Nairobi’s involvement prompted a court challenge.On Friday, judge Enock Chacha Mwita ruled that “any decision by any state organ or state officer to deploy police officers to Haiti… contravenes the constitution and the law and is therefore unconstitutional, illegal and invalid.””An order is hereby issued prohibiting deployment of police forces to Haiti or any other country,” he said.Ekuru Aukot, the opposition politician who challenged the deployment in the Nairobi High Court, said he expected the government to appeal.”We will still be waiting for them at the court of appeal, and we will go all the way to the Supreme Court. They should be thanking me for saving the government this embarrassment,” he told AFP.There was no immediate response from the Kenyan government to the ruling.The government had previously said it was ready to provide up to 1,000 personnel, an offer welcomed by the United States and other nations that had ruled out putting their own forces on the ground.Kenya’s ambassador to the United Nations, Martin Kimani, on Thursday said that “significant progress” had been made in preparations towards the mission, which had parliamentary approval.In the face of criticism, President William Ruto had described the Kenyan undertaking as a “mission for humanity” and one in step with its long record of contributing to peacekeeping missions abroad.- War zone -Haiti’s foreign minister on Thursday pleaded for the deployment to be speeded up, telling the UN Security Council that gang violence in the country was as barbaric as the horrors experienced in war zones.”The Haitian people cannot take any more. I hope this time is the last time I will speak before the deployment of a multinational force to support our security forces,” Jean Victor Geneus told the council.Gangs now run rampant in large swathes of the country and homicides in Haiti more than doubled last year, according to a UN report released Tuesday, to nearly 4,800 murders.The multinational mission — initially approved for one year — had envisioned Kenyan police on the offensive with their Haitian counterparts, who are outnumbered and outgunned by gang members.Haiti, the Western hemisphere’s poorest nation, has been in turmoil for years, with armed gangs taking over parts of the country and unleashing brutal violence, and the economy and public health system in tatters.The 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise plunged the country further into chaos. No elections have taken place since 2016 and the presidency remains vacant.bur-amu-ho-np/kjm