Indonesia: Judge Apologises Over Rape 'Joke'

Indonesia: Judge Apologises Over Rape 'Joke'

A senior Indonesian judge who joked that rapists should evade capital punishment because victims enjoyed the act has apologised.

Muhammad Daming Sunusi - a High Court judge who is running for a Supreme Court position - made the remarks during a "fit-and-proper test", when parliament asked whether the country should introduce the death penalty for rapists.

"The one raped and the rapist both enjoy it, so (we would) need to think about the death sentence," he was quoted as saying.

Sunusi apologised for making the statement after his remark triggered outrage and calls for his dismissal, saying he was trying to lighten the mood of the tense interview.

"I've said something that no man should ever say, especially a Supreme Court candidate," he later said on national TV.

His comments caused uproar among politicians and human rights groups, who have called for Sunusi to be sacked.

"The comments were inelegant, inappropriate and unbecoming of a judge and a Supreme Court hopeful," politician Sarifuddin Suding said.

Commission for Child Protection chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait said Sunusi's comments were "insolent" and reflected the view from various segments of society that sexual violence is a norm.

"It is disturbing that a judge, whose role is to protect the legal rights of women and children, could say something so audacious and consider it as a joke. He should be sacked," Sirait said.

Online petitions to parliament to reject his nomination for the Supreme Court have been circulating.

The Judicial Commission, which monitors judges' conduct and professionalism, said it has questioned Sunusi and will decide on sanctions later this month.

Options range from a warning about his behaviour to straightforward dismissal.

The National Commission on Violence Against Women recorded 4,845 rape cases between 1998 and 2010, but human rights activist Andy Yentriyani said many perpetrators were given light sentences or escaped punishment altogether.