Cambodia is a country of 12 million people located in the heart of Southeast Asia, sandwiched between a powerful Vietnam and a prosperous Thailand. Today it is a peaceful country however, in the late 1970s Cambodia was the site of one of the world's most destructive episodes of genocide. This quiet Kingdom was destabilized by the fighting in neighboring Vietnam in the late 1960s, leading to the emergence of the ruthless Khmer Rouge in 1975. In the following three years the Khmer Rouge caused the death of nearly two million Cambodians through torture, execution, forced starvation and disease. It took twenty-years and a major United Nations peace effort for the country to return to some semblance of stability. Having lost the most educated and capable citizens to genocide, Cambodia remains the poorest nation in Southeast Asia, and is handicapped by a lack of the human capacity required to function as a civil society.