This report aims at addressing concerns regarding the implementation of Rwanda’s Expropriation Law and at evaluating its outcomes on the population, specifically on expropriated households. It is part of the wider USAID Rwanda LAND Project. In this report, the Legal Aid Forum (LAF), with financial support from USAID, focuses on the following research questions: What is the status of processes and procedures for the implementation of the Expropriation Law? What are the key challenges and impacts from the implementation of this law? To answer these questions, a desk review of relevant laws, policies, documents, and records was conducted. Further, qualitative data collected though Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), and quantitative data was gathered through Structured Interviews/Household Surveys.
The data obtained through this study revealed that insufficient and delayed compensation were the most important issues to property owners, government stakeholders and expropriating institutions. This suggests the possibility for collaborative efforts to decrease delays and improve the integrity of the valuation process. Further, while measuring the price paid per square meter of expropriated land, unexpected variations emerged, based on the expropriating entity paying the compensation. These were found to be arbitrary differences in land values. Finally, this study found that land expropriation, which is usually thought to be a primarily urban issue, has a much greater than anticipated impact on rural households. This report therefore recommends improvements in (1) planning and valuation procedures for expropriation projects, (2) notice procedures and (3) transparency and accountability in the expropriation process, as well as (4) increased opportunities for public participation in the expropriation process, and (5) the mitigation of negative impacts on expropriated households.
Keywords: Expropriation Law; Access to justice; Socio-economic impacts; Rwanda.