Senate passage of the Omnibus appropriations bill quietly marked the end of Congressional sanctions on nations that have ratified the International Criminal Court. It also officially ends the Bush administration's Bilateral Immunity Agreement (or Article 98) campaign, clearing the way for greater U.S. cooperation with the Court.
Thank you Representative Lowey, Senator Leahy and your staffs!
Beginning in the summer of 2002, the Bush administration aggressively sought to conclude bilateral immunity agreements with every country in the world. Bilateral immunity agreements (BIAs), also known as "Article 98" agreements, prohibited countries from sending U.S. personnel to the ICC for any reason. This includes U.S. servicemembers, nationals, or employees of the U.S. government (past and present, including non-national contractors). Over 100 nations were pressured into signing these agreements, even though doing so meant violating the commitment they took on when they ratified the ICC treaty. They were forced to put all U.S. citizens on their territory, even mercenaries and common criminals, above the laws that they expected their own citizens and leaders to obey.
In 2002 Congress passed the American Servicemembers Protection Act (ASPA), which hampered U.S. cooperation with the Court and sanctioned nations that ratified it by withholding funding for military financing and education. By January, 2008, at the urging of the Defense Department, these economic sanctions were eliminated.