Supreme Court justice candidate M. Daming Sanusi made an emotional public apology on Tuesday after facing widespread condemnation for his insensitive remarks about rape.
“I apologize to the Indonesian public from the bottom of my heart,” Daming told Indonesian news portal detik.com. “I realize those words shouldn’t have come out from anyone, let alone a justice hopeful. I really, really regret that.”
Daming has been a judge for 24 years and was recently appointed the chief of the Palembang High Court.
He was taking part in a fit-and-proper test for Supreme Court justice nominees at the House of Representatives in Jakarta on Monday, along with five other judges.
During the test, Andi Anzhar, a lawmaker from the National Mandate Party, asked Daming’s opinion about sentencing rapists to death, to which he answered, “Both the rapist and the victim enjoy it. So, [we] have to think again about death sentence.”
His remarks prompted considerable criticism, particularly from the Indonesian Child Protection Commission.
“Has Daming felt what it’s like to be a [rape] victim [or a member of the victim’s] family? It’s extremely inappropriate for a Supreme Court judge hopeful to [joke about] the suffering of the people and their feelings,” the commission’s secretary, M. Ihsan, said in a statement, as reported by news portal detik.com.
On Tuesday, he admitted he was guilty and did not deserve to defend himself.
“I was out of control. I was pressured with so many questions. I hate what I said — I didn’t know why [I said that],” Daming said as he wiped away his tears. “There’s no need to defend myself. I am guilty.”
He added that he would understand if his remarks disqualified him from being selected for the justice position.