Kenya promises to contest legal directive against Haitian assignment

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Kenyan Government to Appeal Court Ruling on UN-Support Operations in Haiti

The Kenyan Government declared on Friday its intent to dispute a court ruling that invalidated its decision to send a police unit to spearhead a law enforcement mission backed by the United Nations in Haiti. The Caribbean nation has been plagued by gang violence, with Haiti’s government consistently requesting an international force to combat the bloodshed that estimates suggest has resulted in almost 5,000 casualties.

A Multinational Force in Jeopardy

The court’s ruling, deeming the deployment “illegal,” poses a threat to the continuation of the multinational force. Early in October, the decision for the mission was ratified by the United Nations Security Council. Yet, Kenya’s involvement sparked controversy back home, culminating in a legal dispute.

High Court Decision

Judge Enock Chacha Mwita of Nairobi High Court decreed on Friday that the decision by “any state body or state officer to deploy police officers to Haiti… goes against the constitution and the law and consequently is unconstitutional, illegal, and invalid.” The judge also issued a prohibition order against the deployment of police forces to Haiti or any other nation.

Kenyian Government’s Response

The Kenyan authorities were swift to respond, with spokesperson Isaac Mwaura stating, “While the government respects the rule of law, we have however decided to contest the high court’s judgment forthwith,” reiterating the government’s commitment to observing its international responsibilities.

Opposition Stand

Ekuru Aukot, the opposition member who challenged the force deployment, expressed readiness for a protracted battle, stating, “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.”

Preparations for the Mission

Kenya’s ambassador to the United Nations, Martin Kimani, revealed that “significant progress” had been made in readiness for the mission, which had already been authorized by parliament. Despite the adverse criticism, President William Ruto termed the Kenyan commitment as a “mission for humanity,” dovetailing with its extensive record of contributing to international peacekeeping initiatives.

Haiti’s Escalated Violence

Thursday saw Haiti’s foreign minister beseeching an acceleration of the deployment, describing to the UN Security Council the gang violence in Haiti as barbaric as experiences in war zones. Jean Victor Geneus told the council, “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.”

According to a UN report released on Tuesday, the homicide rate in Haiti doubled last year resulting in nearly 4,800 murders. The multinational mission, approved for a duration of one year, planned to partner Kenyan police with their Haitian counterparts, currently overpowered by gang members.

The Struggling Nation of Haiti

Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, has long been mired in turmoil. With armed gangs commandeering parts of the country and unleashing relentless violence, the country’s economy and public health system are in shambles. Political upheaval further intensified following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021, with no elections held since 2016, leaving the presidential office vacant.

(News source: Reader Wall)

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