The High Court of Nairobi has ruled that the deployment of Kenya National Police Services (NPS) officers to Haiti is prohibited by the Kenyan Constitution, because there is no reciprocal policing agreement.
In a ruling issued by High Court Judge Chacha Mwita on Friday, it was noted that the National Security Council and NPS do not have powers to deploy police outside Kenya.
Mwita made the ruling following an application made by Thirdway Alliance Party leader Ekuru Aukot who wanted the court to block the deployment stating that it was illegal.
“To be clear, 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,” he ruled.
“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.”
The judge acknowledged that Kenya’s offer to help mitigate a humanitarian crisis in Haiti was noble, however, he maintained that such deployment needed to be undertaken in accordance with the Constitution of Kenya.
“An order is hereby issued prohibiting the deployment of police officers to Haiti or any other country otherwise than any compliance with part 14 of NPS Act,” he stated.
Aukot filed his petition in court after Parliament approved the deployment of 1,000 officers to the Carribean nation. Kenya had offered to lead a peacekeeping mission in Haiti which has witnessed an upsurge in gang violence.
President William Ruto, who was among the biggest pushers of the deployment, stated that the move was informed by Kenya’s obligations to the international community.
Notably, the move by Kenya was warmly received by the international community with countries such as the United States offering substantial financial support for the move.
Prior to the ruling, a police officer who spoke to the BBC anonymously said that they had already received two months of intensive training.
He added that the courses varied from weapon handling, lessons on international law and the topography of Haiti.
This is the second major court ruling to go against Kenya’s government on the same day. The High Court also rejected a government attempt to overturn a block on a controversial housing levy.
It comes after Mr Ruto had recently criticised judges he said were corrupt for blocking government policy.
Sources: Kenyans.co.ke, BBC.