during detonation of an explosive device, 33% were killed as foot soldiers in battlefield operations,
6% died while working as propagandists, 4% conducted mass suicide attacks against civilians, and
the final 18% died alongside adult fighters, after infiltrating and attacking an enemy position and
then detonating suicide belts.73 Further, the Islamic State’s overall use of children has increased –
there were three times as many suicide operations involving children in January 2016 than there
were in January 2015.74
The Islamic State is not restricting its use of child soldiers to roles in which they have a
comparative advantage over adults, unlike what has been seen in previous conflicts involving
children.75 Rather, the children involved with the Islamic State are fighting alongside adults, being
treated as any other fighter would be treated.76 Graduates of the Cubs of the Caliphate program are
trained for positions as porters, spies, and even for suicide missions.77 Islamic State militants have
filmed these children watching public beheadings, training in hand-to-hand combat, firing
weapons, distributing knives to men preparing to behead prisoners, and carrying out executions
themselves.78 These children, juveniles between the ages of fifteen and eighteen years old,
comprise around twenty percent of all suicide missions.79 The Islamic State has built a system that
manufactures child militants.
IV. THE SAUDI ARABIAN LEGAL SYSTEM AND THE CONFLICT WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW
Saudi Arabia is unique in its written law. Referred to as “The Basic System,” Saudi
Arabia’s constitution states that the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad are the
Kingdom’s constitution.80 This ideology is based on the doctrine of Wahhabism, which relies on
Islamic, religious texts as its legal sources.81 It thereby opposes any interpretation of law and
religion not based on traditional textual sources of law.82 Since only God can legislate, statutory
laws in criminal, administrative and commercial areas are only lawful and enforceable where there
is no clear text present in Islamic law that would otherwise regulate a given issue.83 However, there
is controversy over codification of Islamic law, and as a result, any codes, legislations, and acts
are deemed informal.84 Additionally, prosecutors and judges are free to criminalize any act in
accordance with their own personal interpretation of the precepts of Islamic law,85 constrained
only by their own conscience in determining the will of God.86 Judicial decisions of Saudi judges
73 Bloom, Horgan & Winter, supra note 72, at 30–31.
74 Id. at 31.
75 Id. at 32.
77 Lefas, supra note 63, at 12.
78 Horgan & Bloom, supra note 55.
79 Lefas, supra note 63, at 15.
80 Dr. Abdullah F. Ansary, A Brief Overview of the Saudi Arabian Legal System, HAUSER GLOBAL L. SCH. PROGRAM
(July 2008), http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Saudi_Arabia.html.
81 Hossein Esmaeili, On a Slow Boat Towards the Rule of Law: The Nature of Law in the Saudi Arabian Legal System,
26 ARIZ. J. INT’L & COMP. L. 1, 5 (2009).
82 Esmaeili, supra note 81, at 5.
83 Ansary, supra note 80.
85 Wells, supra note 2.
86 Ansary, supra note 80.