Kenya’s High Court Declares Deployment of Police to Haiti Unconstitutional

In a significant legal development, the High Court of Nairobi has ruled that the deployment of National Police Service (NPS) officers to Haiti is unconstitutional. The decision, delivered by High Court Judge Chacha Mwita on Friday, emphasized that both the National Security Council and NPS lack the authority to deploy police personnel outside the borders of Kenya. The ruling came in response to an application filed by Ekuru Aukot, the leader of the Thirdway Alliance Party, who sought to block the deployment, arguing its illegality.

Judge Mwita clarified that Article 240 of the Constitution does not empower the National Security Council to deploy police officers beyond Kenya’s borders. Deployment, he asserted, should adhere to the provisions outlined in part 14 of the NPS Act and only extend to reciprocating countries. Notably, the court recognized the absence of a reciprocal arrangement between Kenya and Haiti, rendering the deployment unconstitutional.

While acknowledging Kenya’s commendable intention to assist in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Haiti, Judge Mwita insisted that such endeavors must align with the constitutional framework of Kenya. The ruling explicitly issued an order prohibiting the deployment of police officers to Haiti or any other country unless compliant with part 14 of the NPS Act.

Aukot’s petition was prompted by Parliament’s approval of the deployment of 1,000 officers to Haiti. Kenya had offered to lead a peacekeeping mission in response to the escalating gang violence in the Caribbean nation. President William Ruto was a prominent advocate for the deployment, citing Kenya’s international obligations as the driving force behind the decision.

Despite the legal setback, Kenya’s offer to assist Haiti garnered substantial support from the international community. The United States, among other nations, expressed approval by offering Ksh14 billion in financial aid and logistical support. The deployment also received the endorsement of the United Nations Security Council in October 2023.

Following the court’s ruling, it remains uncertain whether the government will appeal the decision in the Court of Appeal. President Ruto had not issued a response to the judgment at the time of publication. The legal dispute raises questions about the intersection of Kenya’s international commitments and the constitutional limitations on deploying security forces abroad.

As the nation awaits further developments, the ruling by the High Court underscores the imperative for adherence to constitutional provisions in matters of international deployments, ensuring that Kenya’s actions align with the legal framework that governs such endeavors.


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