Montroc Avalanche, Suspended Sentence for Mayor

The state criminal court sitting Bonneville has sentenced the Mayor of Chamonix, Michel Charlet to a three month suspended prison sentence for his part in the handling of events immediately prior to the Montroc (le Tour) avalanche in February 1999. 

Later this year Mr Charlet will be in the dock again for his role in the Mont Blanc Tunnel fire disaster, also in the winter of 1999.  If found guilty in this second trial Mr Charlet would run the risk of a spell behind bars.  However Mr Charlet will benefit from a Presidential amnesty dating from the 6th August 2002 which states that any suspended sentence of less than 6 months will not be activated.

Mr Charlet was criticised by the judge for not using his police powers to evacuate houses at risk from avalanches.  The court stated that “the sole responsibility for evacuating a site at serious risk from avalanches rests with the Mayor”.  In his defence the Mayor stated that evacuating all the houses at risk during February 1999 was not practical.  Jean-Claude Bourdais, representing the families of those who died was satisfied with the verdict which reminds Mayors “that they have priorities other than organising festivals, flowers and majorettes.  Things have to change so that our children didn’t die in vain, the decision will help us grieve.”

This verdict opens the door to a compensation payment for the families of victims.  In a show of local solidarity only the families of tourists are seeking compensation.

The Mayor will decide whether he appeals next week but has a difficult choice between “taking into account the pain and suffering of the families or letting the decision rest and becoming case law”.  He also runs the risk of a longer sentence.

Posted by davidof on Thursday, 17 July, 2003 at 03:21 PM

Seven years after the dramatic Montroc avalanche the state and civil parties are scheduled to meet in court on the 27th of June, 2006 at the Tribunal Administrative at Grenoble.

Posted by davidof on  Monday, 12 June, 2006  at 04:12 PM

Hi. I’d like some help, if you could give me ANY type of information on the Montroc Avalanche, I’m doing a case study on it and I’m kind of stuck.

Posted by no name on  Monday, 04 September, 2006  at 03:46 AM


Did you check out this link:

It is from an article I wrote for an American Journal called the Avalanche Review and has a pretty extensive coverage of the avalanche. If you need to know anything more contact me by email. The 2nd court case happened in June but the court still hasn’t notified the results - those long French summer holidays I suppose.

Posted by davidof on  Monday, 04 September, 2006  at 08:13 AM
Page 1 of 1 pages

Comments are now closed



Archive Summary

Forum Posts

Sunday, 19 May, 2013

Girl survives 4 nights out at 4000m on the Vert

Posted by juice at 11:44 PM
• (3) Posts • (1894) views •

Monday, 29 April, 2013

Colorado's deadliest slide in 50 years

Posted by Simon Scott at 01:41 PM
• (3) Posts • (1583) views •


Thursday, 25 April, 2013

PGHM Officer killed near Ref Argentiere

Posted by juice at 01:38 PM
• (5) Posts • (1646) views •

Friday, 19 April, 2013

avalanche in st christophe

Posted by davidski at 11:32 AM
• (1) Posts • (1401) views •

Monday, 15 April, 2013

Avalanche on the Tete de Chevrette, Vallorcine

Posted by Alan Scowcroft at 04:57 PM
• (1) Posts • (1384) views •

Thursday, 11 April, 2013

Alpine Bindings

Posted by djfrost at 10:08 PM
• (10) Posts • (1527) views •