According to the Foreigners Act1 and the Asylum Act,2 detainees have the right to lodge an appeal to the Higher Court. The decision is drafted in the Serbian language, and if the foreigner does not attain legal counsel (which is quite often the case), there is no real possibility of challenging it.
Since the refugees detained in the transit zone of ‘Nikola Tesla’ Airport are not considered persons deprived of liberty by the border police officials, they do not have the possibility of challenging their situation before the relevant authority. In other words, the placement of foreigners in the transit zone is not accompanied by a lawful decision depriving them of liberty, specifying the duration of the deprivation of liberty and the rights of the person deprived of liberty, such as the right to have access to a lawyer, the right to notify a third person of one’s deprivation of liberty and the right to be examined by a doctor.
Foreigners who are sentenced for the misdemeanour of illegal border crossing or illegal stay in Serbia may lodge an appeal against the first-instance decision. However, since the majority of cases are processed in an accelerated manner, where the foreigners are deprived of the possibility of challenging the charges against them in a language they understand and with the help of an attorney, appeals in these procedures are quite rare.