A Kenyan court has extended the order preventing the government from deploying hundreds of police officers to Haiti for a UN-backed mission aimed at restoring peace to the troubled Caribbean nation. The ruling comes following a recent United Nations warning about the deteriorating security situation in Haiti, where violent gangs control significant parts of the country, leading to record levels of major crimes.
In early October, the UN Security Council approved the deployment of a non-UN multinational mission, led by Kenya, to assist the overwhelmed Haitian police. However, the High Court in Nairobi issued an interim injunction in response to a case brought forward by opposition politician Ekuru Aukot, who argued that the deployment lacked constitutional backing through law or treaty.
High Court judge Enock Mwita stated, “This court became seized of this matter earlier than everyone else, and it would not make sense for it to set aside or allow the interim orders to lapse.” He emphasized that doing so would amount to “an academic exercise.” The judge scheduled a full court hearing on November 9 to address the matter thoroughly.
Opposition politician Ekuru Aukot expressed his satisfaction with the court order, as it effectively halted the deployment until the case was heard and decided. He remarked, “The judge has made the orders even better.” Aukot is a lawyer who played a key role in drafting Kenya’s 2010 constitution.
The details of Kenya’s deployment remain unsettled, as parliamentary approval is still pending, as required by law. While Kenya’s cabinet ratified the deployment on October 13 and submitted the resolution to parliament for approval, Aukot contested this decision as a violation of the court’s injunction, vowing to legally challenge all members of the cabinet.
Criticism of Kenya’s involvement in the mission has arisen, with many questioning the wisdom of such a risky venture. Human rights organizations have voiced concerns about Kenyan police’s history of using lethal force against civilians, which presents an unacceptable risk in Haiti, where foreign troops have committed abuses in past interventions.
Kenya, known as a democratic anchor in East Africa, has actively participated in peacekeeping operations in the region, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia, as well as other parts of the world.
Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, has been engulfed in turmoil for years. Armed gangs have taken control of various regions, causing brutal violence. Additionally, the country’s economy and public health system are in dire straits.