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Judges sink Ruto's plan to send police to Haiti

A High Court ruling has said Kenya's National Police Force cannot be deployed to keep peace outside the country

The prospects for a United Nations-backed plan for Kenya to deploy 1,000 police officers to Haiti to combat armed gangs have receded after the High Court in Nairobi ruled that it would breach the national constitution (AC Vol 64 No 16, Kenyan cops vs Haitian gangs).

The result marks the latest in a series of legal defeats for President William Ruto, who had pushed forward the plan. It had been enthusiastically welcomed by Haiti, the United States, Canada and the wider international system.

President Ruto offered to deploy police officers to Haiti last July, following a request for support from the Haitian government (AC Vol 64 No 16). The UN Security Council then gave their green light for the mission on 10 October (Dispatches 15/11/23, Finance needed before UN police mission, say ministers).

But the plan was halted by an opposition petition challenging its constitutionality and, in his ruling on 26 January, Justice Enock Chacha Mwita said the constitution only allows members of the Kenya Army, Kenya Air Force and Kenya Navy to be deployed to keep the peace outside the country.

The National Police Service does not fall under the category of defence forces and 'therefore cannot be deployed to Haiti,' the judge said.

It is hard to see how the government can get around the court judgement and there is little enthusiasm for an overstretched army to be redeployed to Haiti.

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