This chapter provides some historical and theoretical context to the study of victims within the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). It begins by briefly exploring the emergence of victimology as a distinct branch of criminology. The chapter considers various factors that have influenced the growth of an 'evolving universality of victims' rights'. It explores the development of victims' services and rights within settled Western democracies. The chapter traces the changing approaches towards victims within international criminal institutions, focusing on tribunals established in the aftermath of Second World War, the ad hoc tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, the permanent International Criminal Court, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) and the Chambres Africaines Extraordinaires. It concludes that despite the growing sense of moral and legal obligation towards victims, a gap remains between the 'imagined victim' as a motivating force for action and benefits victims of harm receive from official responses to their harm.