“Haiti mission can go ahead as soon as next week,” Ruto says despite court ruling

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Kenya will go ahead and deploy its police officers to gang-ridden Haiti despite a court ruling blocking the mission, this is according to President William Ruto.

Speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of the Italian-Africa Summit in Rome, Italy, President Ruto said the courts misinterpreted crucial tenets of the U.N-approved security mission to Haiti.

“So, that mission can go ahead as soon as next week, if all the paperwork is done between Kenya and Haiti on the bilateral route that has been suggested by the court,” Ruto said.

A file photo of people fleeing from violence after the murder of a local gang leader camp out in the courtyard of Cite Soleil’s town hall, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti December 7, 2019. PHOTO | REUTERS/Valerie Baeriswy

Illegal, unconstitutional

The High Court, while blocking the mission, declared the plan as unconstitutional because there is no “reciprocal arrangement” in place between Kenya and host nation Haiti.

“Article 240 does not mandate the Council to deploy police officers outside Kenya. Deployment should be as provided for in part 14 of the Act and only to a reciprocating country. It is not contested that there is no reciprocal arrangement between Kenya and Haiti and for that reason, there can be no deployment of police to that country,” Justice Chacha Mwita ruled.

The Kenya-led mission is meant to help the Haiti government tackle criminal gangs that have taken control nearly 80% of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The United Nations Security Council in October 2023 approved the mission, with the United States pledging $100 million in support.

Unprecedented surge in gang violence

In a briefing last week, Maria Isabel Salvador — Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Haiti — rued that the number of victims killed, injured and kidnapped by the said gangs more than doubled last year.

“I cannot overstress the severity of the situation in Haiti, where multiple protracted crises have reached a critical point,” Isabel told the U.N. Security Council.

Her office, she says, documented that 8,400 victims of gang violence last year — a 122% rise from 2022.

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