The mayor of Chamonix, Michel Charlet, will be appearing at the courts in Bonneville from today until Friday. He is charged with manslaughter for his handling of the avalanche at Montroc. M. Charlet is accused of not using his power to evacuate buildings at risk of avalanche in the hamlet of les Posies at Montroc.
12 people died in an avalanche on the afternoon of 9th February 1999. 14 participants are represented by 8 lawyers in the trial. Charlet faces up to 3 years in prison and a 45,000 euro fine.
The Montroc Memorial, May 2003
The state prosecutor, Vincent le Pannerer, called for the trial to be abandoned, believing that M. Charlet did not have sufficient information to evacuate the houses, an opinion shared by the PisteHors investigation into the events. However the judge has decided to pursue the case. Charlet is also a co-defendant in the Mont Blanc Tunnel disaster trial which cost 39 lives in the same year. The Mont Blanc tunnel has now fully reopened to traffic but has suffered a number of failures to its computerised safety system.