The Khmer Rouge (Khmer: ខ្មែរក្រហម — “Khmer Krahom” in Khmer) was the name given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, who were the ruling party in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, led by Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen and Khieu Samphan. The regime led by the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979 was known as the Democratic Kampuchea.
This organization is remembered primarily for its policy of social engineering, which resulted in genocide. Its attempts at agricultural reform led to widespread famine, while its insistence on absolute self-sufficiency, even in the supply of medicine, led to the deaths of thousands from treatable diseases (such as malaria). Brutal and arbitrary executions and torture carried out by its cadres against perceived subversive elements, or during purges of its own ranks between 1976 and 1978, are considered to have constituted a genocide.
The clandestine Communist Party of Kampuchea itself constituted the secret leadership of the Khmer Rouge, as its official name was known only to a few insiders: it called itself the Angkar (the organization) and only announced officially its existence in 1977, almost two years after the establishment of Democratic Kampuchea. After the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime, the organization's remaining guerrilla forces became known as the National Army of Democratic Kampuchea. In 1981 the party itself was dissolved, and substituted by the Party of Democratic Kampuchea, which was succeeded in the 1993-1994 period by the Cambodian National Unity Party. In 1996 the Democratic National Union Movement of Ieng Sary split from the Khmer Rouge while in 1997 the Khmer National Solidarity Party was founded as a successor to the CNUP by Khieu Samphan.