National

KY to raise standards after
rape joke incident

After admitting to having made a mistake in recommending “rape joke” judge Muhammad Daming Sunusi for “fit-and-proper” tests, the Judicial Commission (KY) has decided to tighten requirements for Supreme Court justice candidates.

The commission said that in future, they would select candidates who were more sensitive to gender issues.

“The Daming incident taught us a lesson [...] we need to measure how sensitive a candidate is to gender issues during the selection process,” the commission spokesperson, Asep Rahmat Fajar, said on Thursday.

Responding to a request from the Supreme Court to conduct a selection process to fill seven vacant justice seats, the commission is scheduled to start a registration period for candidates between Feb. 4 and Feb. 22, 2013.

The candidates will undergo
a five-stage selection process before the commission submits the names to the House for a fit-and-proper test.

Following the fit-and-proper test, candidates will undergo an administrative test, competency assessment, psychological test, medical check-up and interview.

During a fit-and-proper test earlier this month, Daming made the controversial “rape joke”.

Daming said that some rape cases might involve consensual sex and that rape victims “might have enjoyed the intercourse”.

The commission later announced that Daming had breached the judicial code of ethics and should be dismissed from his current position.

The commission said that it would also dig deeper into candidates’ personal lives.

Asep, however, said that background checks would not include a look into any history of extramarital affairs.

“Everything related to candidates’ track records, including work backgrounds, living and social environments, will be scrutinized,” he said.

Asep said that the commission was currently looking into an extramarital affair allegation involving one judge.

The commission is also set to approve a new condition that would limit how many times failed candidates could reapply for the job.

Daming himself failed to pass the fit-and-proper test in 2011 and joined another selection round this year.

“Now, a candidate can’t reapply after having failed twice,” KY commissioner Taufiqurrahman Syahuri said, adding that candidates, however, could reapply after taking a break.

“Those who don’t pass the health test can improve their health; those who don’t have enough knowledge can better prepare by reading more books; and those who lack integrity [...] can show remorse first,” he said.

The KY also sets a condition that would ban career judges from applying non-career judges enrollment track.

The current selection process is aiming to fill a total of seven slots in the three chambers, including one left vacant by Ahmad Yamani, who was sacked after an ethics panel found him in violation of the judges’ code of ethics for falsifying a ruling involving a drug lord.

“We hope that we can meet the challenge. But, as we repeatedly stated, selecting justice candidates is a difficult task,” Taufiqurrahman said.

He also denied that the salary gap between justices and high court judges would give disincentives for candidates applying for the country’s top judge position.

Data from the commission said that a high court judge received around Rp 40 million (US$4,125), while a Supreme Court justice received only Rp 33 million per month. The high salary of high court judges was based on Government Regulation No. 94/2012 signed last year by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, which was issued as part of a concerted effort to eradicate corruption in the judiciary.

“We will see. It’s up to them. If they are aspiring for something great, they will join the selection process. If they only care about money, then they need not apply,” Taufiqurrahman said.

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