The commander of Canadian troops in Afghanistan, who ordered a special investigation into his own actions, has been charged with violating the National Defence Act for accidentally discharging his weapon last month.


Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ménard, the Canadian head of the coalition forces in Kandahar, talks with U.S. commanders in Afghanistan in December 2009. ((Colin Perkel/Canadian Press))

Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ménard, the head of Joint Task Force Afghanistan, announced Saturday that he had summoned the military's National Investigation Service to probe the unintended discharge of his gun on March 25.

Ménard said he was loading his C8 carbine at Kandahar Airfield, something he said he has done thousands of times, when it went off.

No one was injured and nothing was damaged, but the National Defence Act makes it an offence to accidentally discharge a weapon.

On Tuesday, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service announced it has charged Ménard with one count of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.

Ménard will have to be court-martialled because of his high rank, the CBC's James Cudmore said. If found guilty, he could face a hefty fine or a reprimand.

The general said he felt compelled to relate the information in the name of openness.