Refugees win rare victory in landmark Serbia pushback ruling

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Groups of refugees and economic migrants trying to reach Western Europe regularly give accounts of police forcibly pushing them back across borders in the Balkans. Pushbacks are illegal, and authorities routinely deny that their agencies carry out such collective expulsions, which are difficult to prove and mostly go unpunished. But in an unprecedented victory, Serbia’s Constitutional Court has ruled that border control officers unlawfully deported 25 refugees four years ago. The group was dumped in a forest instead of dropped off at a camp for asylum-seekers. The ruling is a rare official acknowledgment that countries violate European Union and international laws banning deportations without considering individual circumstances or allowing people to apply for asylum.