kenya plans to bypass court order in haiti deployment

The United Nations-approved mission to stem gang violence in Haiti has faced widespread criticism from activists and lawmakers and was blocked by a High Court judge in Kenya in January.

Kenya’s government will not await a court of appeal ruling before deploying its forces to Haiti, a senior government official said, further underscoring the government’s determination to move ahead with the proposed multinational force aimed at bringing stability to the gang-ravaged Caribbean nation.

Abraham Korir Sing’Oei, the principal secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told The New York Times in an interview that Kenya and Haiti were working to finalize a bilateral agreement in the next two weeks and that, once in place, Kenyan forces would immediately deploy.

The declaration from Mr. Sing’Oei comes just a week after the country’s High Court blocked the deployment of 1,000 police officers, saying it could go ahead only if there was a “reciprocal arrangement” detailing the framework under which Kenyan forces can operate in Haiti.

Kenya’s government appealed the decision.

Mr. Sing’Oei said the High Court provided a legal pathway for the deployment, namely the bilateral reciprocal arrangement with Haiti. But he said the government was appealing the decision to a higher court anyway to seek clarifications on some findings the government “finds problematic.”

Still, he added, “the deployment does not have to await the conclusion of this appeal.”

He did not give a specific timeline for when the officers would depart for Haiti.

President William Ruto of Kenya has remained bullish on the plan, telling Reuters last week that the mission would go ahead despite the court’s ruling.

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