News and events Tilburg University

Book launch: Portraits of Injustice

Published: 16th September 2019 Last updated: 15th November 2021

In order to show the impact of international crimes on victims, the International Victimology Institute Tilburg (INTERVICT) of Tilburg University will present the photo book 'Portraits of Injustice: Forced marriage and related sexual violence under the Khmer Rouge' on September 24th, 2019. The photo book portrays twelve victims of forced marriage under the Khmer Rouge in words and pictures. It forms part of an extensive multidisciplinary research project on the impact of reparations provided by international criminal and human rights courts, led by Prof. Rianne Letschert.

The Khmer Rouge regime of Pol Pot was responsible for the killing of about a quarter of the Cambodian population between 1975 and 1979 and made many more victims. They also forced random men and women to marry and have children, sometimes with the use violence, with the aim to provide the army with new recruits. The photo book Portraits of Injustice calls attention to this relatively unknown crime of the Khmer Rouge, which was only recently recognized by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).

Researcher Alina Balta travelled to Cambodia and visited twelve female victims of forced marriage. Upon return, she compiled a photo book showcasing their portraits and life stories. The book reveals the scars that still mark them, both physically and mentally, but also the resilience with which they lived their lives both during and after the suppression. By sharing their stories they hope to get recognition as victims of a criminal regime.

The role of stories is a topic of the scientific research into reparation law as well. This NWO-Vidi project (What’s law got to do with it?) pays attention to victims of international crime from Cambodia, but also Congo, Cyprus and Guatemala.

Book launch

Press representatives are very welcome to attend the launch of Portraits of Injustice or interview the editor, Alina Balta, and junior researcher Marola Vaes, who provided important support in the realization of the photo book. The book presentation will be introduced by project leader and Maastricht University rector Prof. Rianne Letschert. Dr. Philippe Peycam will be presented with the first copy. He is a Cambodia expert and Director of the International Institute for Asian Studies of Leiden University. The event will be moderated by Mijke de Waardt, Senior Researcher at INTERVICT.

  • Time:                  24 September 2019, 4.00 – 6.30 pm
  • Location:            Black Box, Esplanade building, campus Tilburg University
  • Registration:     Please register with Alina Balta,

For more information, interview requests and a photograph, please contact Alina Balta MSc, tel. +31 13 466 4189, e-mail

The book Portraits of Injustice. Forced marriage and related sexual violence under the Khmer Rouge has been published by Wolf Publishers.