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Montevideo, April 19th 2024 - 08:26 UTC

 

 

Kenya led UN law and order mission to Haiti ruled 'unconstitutional'

Monday, January 29th 2024 - 14:51 UTC
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Kenya had been prepared to send up to 1,000 police and security personnel across the Atlantic, the first 300 of whom had been expected to arrive this month. Kenya had been prepared to send up to 1,000 police and security personnel across the Atlantic, the first 300 of whom had been expected to arrive this month.

The troubled island of Haiti, desperate for a multinational force to help combat rising gang violence, with over 5,000 people murdered last year, and several UN failed sponsored peace missions, has again been disappointed. The offer from the east African nation of Kenya to help with such a force has faced the country's top court ruling of 'unconstitutional'.

The Nairobi government said it has plans to challenge and appeal the ruling, but in real terms deploying a contingent of police officers to Haiti, as head of a UN backed law and order mission has again been delayed with a negative impact on the international community which has been struggling for volunteers in the Caribbean nation.

The international community and the Haitian government have long been seeking for a multinational force to impose law and order, but many countries have been wary of supporting Prime Minister Ariel Henry's unelected administration — governing in the aftermath of the former president's assassination — and intervening in a nation where previous missions had been dogged by human rights abuses.

But after months of fruitless appeals, Kenya stepped forward last July, saying it was doing so in “solidarity with a brother nation.”

The UN Security Council had approved the mission in October, but the plans are now on hold after Justice Enock Chacha Mwita ruled that Kenya's National Security Council, which is led by the president, does not have the authority to deploy regular police outside the country.

“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,” he said, handing down the ruling at Nairobi High Court.

Via a spokesman, the Kenyan government responded that, while it “respects the rule of law,” it had “made the decision to challenge the high court's verdict forthwith.” It added: “The government reiterates its commitment in honoring its international obligations.”

Kenya had been prepared to send up to 1,000 police and security personnel across the Atlantic, the first 300 of whom had been expected to arrive this month. Chad, Senegal, Jamaica, Belize, the Bahamas and Antigua & Barbuda have also pledged officers for the coalition, bringing the total number of personnel to around 3,000.

President William Ruto had described the Kenyan undertaking as a “mission for humanity” and one in keeping with its record of contributing to peacekeeping missions abroad.

Haiti's foreign minister 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,” Jean Victor Geneus told the council. “I hope this time is the last time I will speak before the deployment of a multinational force to support our security forces.”

Categories: Politics, Latin America.
Tags: Haiti, Kenya.

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