Greek woman becomes first female Secretary General of the European Court of Human Rights


Marialena Tsirlis, a Greek native, is the first woman to be appointed Secretary-General of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Marialena is a graduate of the Ursulines Greek-French School and the Athens Law School, before she continued her postgraduate and doctoral studies in Strasbourg.

In 1994, she began her career as a lawyer at the Secretariat of the European Commission of Human Rights.

After advancing to several executive positions, Marialena’s rich academic and professional career led her to be unanimously elected by the Plenary of forty-seven judges of the ECHR to the position of Secretary-General.

“The role of the Secretariat is ancillary. Our mission is to assist judges in the performance of their duties by preparing case files and providing any legal, administrative and technical assistance,” Marialena said in an interview with APE-MPE after her election. 

“My goal is to perform our duties in the best and most efficient way, utilising the potential and skills of each staff member and ensuring a healthy and enjoyable work environment, where everyone will be able to evolve and progress. 

“I am fortunate to lead an extremely talented, enthusiastic and dedicated team. We know that the Court is called upon to face significant challenges and it is our common ambition to contribute to its success.”

Marialena will serve a five-year term and will commence her duties on December 1st, 2020.




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