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Indonesian judge to face ethics review over 'rape' comment

Publication Date : 16-01-2013

 

A member of the National Commission on Child Protection wants an Indonesian judge fired for comments on consensual rape he made during his “fit-and-proper” test to become a Supreme Court justice.

National Commission on Child Protection (KPAI) member Muhammad Ihsan said yesterday that Muhammad Daming Sanusi, currently a judge at the  Banjarmasin High Court in South Kalimantan, made insensitive remarks that disregarded women and children’s rights, calling into question the judge’s impartiality.

Daming told lawmakers on House of Representatives Commission III on Monday that “both the victims of rape and the rapist might have enjoyed their intercourse together, so we should think twice before handing down the death penalty.”

Ihsan wanted Daming fired. “We encourage the House to call on the Supreme Court to dismiss him [Daming] from his current position.”

“He [Daming] doesn’t have the right to make decisions that can affect the lives of others. More people will suffer from injustice if we have a judge like that,” Ihsan told lawmakers at a hearing of House Commission III overseeing law and human rights.

A rights activist at the meeting told the lawmakers to reject Daming’s nomination as a Supreme Court justice position, while criticising lawmakers who laughed at Daming’s comments.

“I don’t understand what is so funny about such an insensitive remark that you could laugh about it,” Nia Syarifudin of the Bhinneka Tunggal Ika National Alliance Forum told Commission III members.

Nia said Daming’s comments and the lawmakers’ response indicated that the nation’s political establishment was oblivious to the rampant number of rape cases in Indonesia.

One lawmaker present on Monday denied that his peers laughed or agreed with Daming’s comments.

Lawmaker Al Muzammil Yusuf of the Prosperous Justice Party, who presided over the fit and proper hearing, said that lawmakers would not behaved inappropriately in such a formal setting. “The fit-and-proper test is a formal session. We have agreed not to comment directly on statements from a candidate.”

“Now, we know what’s in his [Daming’s] head. This will definitely influence our assessment of him,” Al Muzammil added.

Meanwhile, Golkar Party lawmaker Poempida Hidayatulloh said that his smile after Daming’s comment was not given in appreciation. “It was not for the joke. I was smiling because I knew that Daming had made a fool of himself,” Poempida said.

Separately, a spokesman for the Judicial Commission (KY), which has the authority to recommend judicial candidates to the House, said that the commission had made a mistake in recommending Daming.

Judicial Commission spokesman Asep Rahmat Fajar said that Daming had scored well during the commission’s selection process. “We never expected that he would make such a statement,” Asep said.

The commission would question Daming on a possible breach of ethics, according to the spokesman.

This is the second time Daming has been under consideration for a judicial posting by the House after he failed in 2011.

 

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