There are calls for a judge to be dismissed after he told lawmakers rape victims "may enjoy intercourse" with their attackers.

Muhammad Daming Sanusi is currently a judge at Indonesia's Banjarmasin High Court in South Kalimantan, and made his comments as he applied to become a Supreme Court justice.

According to the Jakarta Post, Sanusi told the country's House of Representatives Commission on Monday: "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."

indonesian women anti rape protest

Anti-rape protesters in Indonesia in September 2011

Fury at his comments spread fast, and now calls are being made demanding Sanusi is sacked.

National Commission on Child Protection (KPAI) member Muhammad Ihsan said: “We encourage the House to call on the Supreme Court to dismiss him from his current position.”

“He 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.”

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Ridwan Bakar, a spokesman for the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation, said: "We ask legislators not to give the judge position to Sanusi, as he had offended peoples' feeling by uttering an inappropriate statement."

Members of the public, as well as the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), have been vociferous in their criticism for Sanuis's comments.

Sanusi, who has been a judge for 24 years, later apologised for his comments during a press conference in which he claimed he had been nervous and had been making a joke.

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News agency Antara quoted him as saying: "I made the remark without realising it can harm peoples' feelings."

Yet it seems Sanusi's apology is smoothing over the furore in some arenas.

Constitutional Court Justice Akil Mochtar told The Jakarta Globe he sympathised with his "slip of the tongue" as it was revealed Sanusi himself reported his actions to the Supreme Court.

Mochtar said: “Nobody’s perfect — it was just a slip of the tongue. We have to see this matter fairly, not emotionally and blindly.

"Even God forgives our mistakes. The state, too, should forgive criminals, even if they are narcotics dealers.”

Lawmaker Trimedya Panjaitan has also appealed for Sanusi not to be sacked.

He said: "Daming was only nervous and unlucky. He made a violation to [judges’] code of ethics, but it was unintentional. The Supreme Court and the Judicial Commission must regard this matter objectively."

Sanusi is expected to be questioned on a possible breach of ethics by members of the Judicial Commission.