Christos Sartzetakis was born in 1929 in Thessalonica. He studied law at the University of Thessalonica, specialized in Mercantile and European Community Law in Paris and entered the judiciary in 1955. He is married to Effy Argiriou and has one daughter.

In 1963 he became internationally famous when, as a Thessalonica judge, he conducted the investigation into the murder of the left-wing Member of Parliament, Gregory Lambrakis, whose case he presided over and helped to solve.

In 1968 during the military dictatorship, he was expelled from the judiciary, arrested, tortured and imprisoned for almost a year without a trial. With the fall of the dictatorship he was re-instated into the judiciary in September 1974 with the rank of judge of the Court of Appeal, rising in 1982 to Supreme Court Justice.

In 1985, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) proposed Christos Sartzetakis for President of the Republic, and he was elected on 29 March 1985, succeeding Constantinos Karamanlis.

Christos Sartzetakis is an honorary member of the High Court of Portugal, an honorary Professor of the History and Ethnology Department of the Dimokrition University of Thrace, an honorary member of the Literary Society of Thessalonica and a member of scientific societies in Greece and abroad. He has been awarded the highest medals of foreign countries and is an honorary citizen of many towns in Greece. He has published various legal and political works.

He maintains his own web page at: www.sartzetakis.gr