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Judge's rape comments spark outrage

Fury over remark that victims enjoy it

  • AFP, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • January 16, 2013
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A senior Indonesian judge who joked that rapists should evade capital punishment because victims enjoyed the act has triggered outrage and calls for his dismissal.

Daming Sunusi, a High Court judge running for a Supreme Court position, made the remarks during a fit-and-proper test on Monday, 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," Kompas daily quoted him as saying.

Sunusi apologized for making the statement, 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 said on national TV.

His comments have caused uproar among lawmakers and rights groups, who called on Wednesday for Sunusi to be sacked.

"The comments were inelegant, inappropriate and unbecoming of a judge and a Supreme Court hopeful," lawmaker 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, one attracting 4,000 signatures overnight.

The Judicial Commission, which monitors judges' conduct and professionalism, said it has questioned Sunusi and would decide on sanctions later this month, ranging from a warning to his dismissal.

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

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