The Standing Committee of the Communist Party of Kampuchea

The standing committee of the Communist Party of Kampuchea was the secretive group that ran Democratic Kampuchea and the Khmer Rouge directly following their removal from power.

Its origins lay in a group of French educated Cambodians and its leadership remained largely unchanged from the 1960’s until things started to fall apart in the 1990’s.

Who were the 8 members of the standing committee of the Communist party of Kampuchea?

The Standing Committee of the Khmer Rouge’s Central Committee (Party Center), also known as Angkar.

  • Brother number 1 Pol Pot (Saloth Sar) — General Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, 1963–1981; Prime Minister of Democratic Kampuchea, 1976–1979
  • Brother number 2 Nuon Chea (Long Bunruot) — Deputy General Secretary of the Communist Party, President of the Kampuchean People’s Representative Assembly
  • Brother number 3 Ieng Sary — Deputy Prime Minister of Democratic Kampuchea; Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1975–1979
  • Brother number 4 Khieu Samphan — President of the State Presidium (head of state) of Democratic Kampuchea
  • Brother number 5 Ta Mok (Chhit Chhoeun) — Leader of the National Army of Democratic Kampuchea; last Khmer Rouge leader, Southwest Regional Secretary
  • Brother number 8 Ke Pauk — Regional Secretary of the Northern Zon
  • Son Sen — Deputy Prime Minister of Democratic Kampuchea, Minister of Defense
  • Yun Yat — Minister of Education, 1975–1977; Minister of Information (replaced Hu Nim in 1977)

The brother system of the Khmer Rouge

The “Brother” system of the Khmer Rouge was another uniquely Khmer Rouge thing. These technically designated the hierarchal role within the leadership. Pol Pot being leader as Brother Number 1, and Nuom Chea his deputy as Brother Number 2.

It is noteworthy that in the 8 member standing committee there were 6 “brothers”. Technically Son Sen was also known as Brother 89, whilst Yun Yat was the wife of Son Sen. Hu Nim who she replaced was purged, tortured and executed in S-21 prison.

After Democratic Kampuchea

Whilst roles would periodically change, for example Pol Pot would technically step down in 1985, nothing really changed within in the inner-workings of the Khmer Rouge until the defections of 1996 onwards.

The last Khmer Rouge leader

Following the defections of Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary Pol Pot ordered the exceptions of Son Sen and Ta Mok. Son Sen and his whole family were shot, ran over by a truck and buried in a mass grave. The killing of Ta Mok failed and he assumed leadership of the Khmer Rouge until its demise.

Pol Pot was put under house arrest, from where he died of old age, although there is some  scholarly debate about if he committed suicide, or not.