Article 98 of the Rome Statute prohibits the ICC from seeking assistance or handing over a person to the ICC if it requires the state to act in an « incoherent » manner with its obligations under international law or international conventions, unless the state or third country lifts immunity or grants cooperation.  The United States has interpreted this article to mean that no state that has signed a bilateral agreement with the United States prohibiting such a transfer can transfer its citizens to the ICC, even if the State is a member of the Rome Statute. The United States has actively urged states to enter into such Article 98 agreements, which are also known as bilateral immunity agreements (BIAs). The Bush administration claimed that the BIAs were developed out of fear that existing agreements – in particular the status of military agreements or the status of mission agreements (SOFAs or SOMAs) – would not adequately protect Americans from ICC jurisdiction. Most of the agreements currently in force under Article 98 for Latin America were signed in 2003. In the past two years, only four other Latin American and Caribbean countries have signed Article 98 agreements. Some countries have strongly opposed the Efforts of the United States to sign Article 98 agreements. In June 2005, the then Ecuadorian President, Alfredo Palacios, declared that Washington was « free » to defend its policy towards the ICC, « but not at the expense of Ecuador`s sovereignty and legal status. » 9 Other politicians in the region have accused the United States of « blackmailing Latin American governments, of signing an agreement that they reject on principle. » 10 The Article 98 campaign has been particularly unpopular in South America, where the majority of citizens support accountability for past violations of human rights, international law and the ICC. The bush administration`s position during its first term was to oppose the ratification of the Rome Statute by the United States, believing that Americans would be treated unfairly for political reasons.  In addition, the Bush administration has actively adopted a policy of hostility toward the Court of Justice in its international relations, simply exceeding the absence of status, but following the provisions of the American Service-Members` Protection Act to ensure that U.S. citizens are immune to the court and to prevent other states from adhering to the status without regard to U.S. concerns. The United States strongly urged states to enter into « Article 98 » agreements, bilateral immunity agreements (BIAs) with the United States, which would guarantee their citizens immunity from the court`s jurisdiction, and threatened to suppress aid to states that refused to agree.
 In accordance with the American Servicemembers` Protection Act or ASPA (P.L. 107-206, Title II), the Bush administration announced military assistance to the governments of countries that had not signed a Section 98 agreement as of July 1, 2003. The ban on military aid included International Military Training (IMET) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF). The IMET program offers scholarships to students from allied and friendly nations. The FMF provides grants to foreign nations for the purchase of defence equipment, services and training in the United States.