Source: (2004) In, Hendrik Kaptein and Marijke Malsch. Crime, Victims, and Justice. Essays on Principles and Practice. Hampshire, England and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing. Pp. 1-15.

As Ybo Buruma points out, a remarkable transformation has occurred in the last two or three decades regarding the way in which the police, judicial authorities, and scientists in many countries think about victims of crime. Significant legal and organizational changes have taken place in favor of the victim. While speculating on many possible causes for this transformation, Buruma in general terms connects new perspectives on victims to a longstanding crisis regarding the meaning and justification of criminal law and punishment. With this mind, he inquires in this essay whether restorative justice and strengthening of victims' rights are actually answers to this crisis. Toward this end, Buruma distinguishes between restorative justice and victim-oriented criminal law. He then applies this distinction in comparing ways to respond to severe, ordinary, and minor criminal cases.