Greek Woman Elected as Secretary General of European Court of Human Rights



The European Court of Human Rights. File photo

On Tuesday, 53-year-old Marialena Tsirli became the very first woman to become Secretary General of the European Court of Human Rights.

The native of Greece, who was born in Thessaloniki, was sworn in yesterday. Succeeding Briton Rodrick Lindell, she will remain in the post at the ECHR for five years.

Marialena Tsirli, the first female Secretary General on the European Court of Human Rights. Credit: ECHR/Twitter

A graduate of the Hellenic French School of Ursulines, she studied at the Law School of the University of Athens and she holds a postgraduate and doctoral degree from Schuman University in Strasbourg, France.

For four years, from 1994 to 1998 Tsirli worked as a lawyer in the Secretariat of the former European Commission of Human Rights. She subsequently served in the Registry of the European Court of Justice from 1998 to 2004, and then as Head of Division from 2004 to 2010. She then served in other positions in the Registry — most recently as Deputy Secretary of the European Court of Human Rights.

The President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, who had herself served as a justice on Greece’s Supreme Court, wrote a congratulatory post on Twitter, saying “First female Secretary General of the European Court of Human Rights, Marialena Tsirli.

“Her unanimous election by the Plenary Session of the Court honors Greek women and our country. Another glass ceiling broken. Have a good term!”

The Greek Foreign Ministry also sent its warm congratulations, saying in a statement “A Greek woman, Marialena Tsirli, today became the first female Secretary General in the history of the European Court of Human Rights.

“We express our warm congratulations and wish her a good term in the important role she is taking on,” the Foreign Ministry said.