THE Kenyan High Court has blocked the government from deploying police officers to fight gangs in Haiti.
The judge argued that the deployment would be illegal as the National Security Council lacks the legal authority to send police outside Kenya.
He added that the council can only deploy military, not police, for peacekeeping missions such as Haiti.
Last year, Kenya had volunteered to lead a multinational security force in Haiti to quell gang violence.
The judge further explained that Kenyan law only allows the government to deploy police officers to another country if a reciprocal agreement exists between Kenya and the host nation.
Kenya’s government has said it will appeal against the ruling.
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry last year asked the UN to urgently deploy a multinational force.
He said his government had been overwhelmed by gangs who controlled 80% of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
The UN Security Council backed Kenya’s offer to lead the force and Kenyan lawmakers went on to approve the deployment.
In Haiti, the possible deployment had received mixed reactions from community members who have suffered at the hands of gangs.
Laurent Uwumuremyi, the country director of Mercy Corps, told the BBC the mission had the potential to facilitate access to public infrastructure and address the humanitarian crisis.
He added though that some community members said Haiti did not need external interventions and that they saw it as a waste of money and time.
Ekuru Aukot, the Kenyan opposition leader who brought the case, said the court ruling was a win for the country, which could not afford to spare officers before tackling its own security challenges.