The Nairobi High Court in Kenya has ruled against the Kenyan governments plan to head a multi-national UN deployment to Haiti. 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”.
Government Spokesman Isaac Mwaura has announced the governments intention to appeal the court decision, saying that “while the government respects the rule of law, we have however made the decision to challenge the high court’s verdict forthwith. The government reiterates its commitment in honouring its international obligations”.
The court has ruled that Kenyan police, according to the constitution, cannot be deployed to any foreign country.
“Mission for Humanity”
The deployment in question would have seen Kenya head a UN deployment to Haiti, sent in order to combat the myriad of gangs within the nation, which are getting more and more violent and gaining more control as time goes on. A multi-national deployment was requested by Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry in 2022. In July of 2023, Kenyan President William Ruto announced the intention to head this force, whether it be through the UN or not. President Ruto has described the mission as a “mission for humanity”, and announced he does not intend to abandon the Haitian people.
However, after President Ruto’s announcement of intent to lead this force, opposition figures in Kenya began opposing the deployment. In October of 2023, the UN approved Kenya’s deployment, which was followed a few days later by a court ruling which declared the move unconstitutional.
Similarly in November, the court delivered a second rejection of the deployment, the same day that the Kenyan parliament approved the deployment. Judge Chacha Mwita announced after the courts November rejection that a final decision would be delivered on January 26th, 2024.
The court says that according to Kenyan law, police officers cannot be deployed outside of Kenya. The deployment requested by Haiti, approved by the UN, and Kenya’s parliament, would utilize police officers.
While Kenya is to lead the force, with a deployment of 1,000 Kenyan police officers, Jamaica, Belize, Chad, Senegal, and Burundi have all also pledged troops to the force. In October, the US pledged 200 million USD to the mission, which is to be in large part funded and equipped by the UN Security Council (UNSC).
Hopefully the Last Time
One day before the ruling, Haiti’s Foreign Minister, Jean Victor Geneus, spoke to the UNSC urging for the deployment to speed up.
“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” -Foreign Minister Geneus
Haiti’s calls for a multi-national deployment have remained unfulfilled, as Kenya’s courts continue to delay the deployment. Haiti has been raising alarms as the situation continues to become more dire. Haiti witnesses approximately 4,800 murders in 2023, which is more than double the 2,088 murders within 2022. Murders within Haiti have been rising since 2018, which recorded 743 murders.