Following the lead of the Clinton Administration, the Bush Administration declined to submit the Rome Statute to the Senate for ratification. 
Moreover, in May 2002, the U.S. notified the U.N. Secretary General, as depositary of the Rome Statute, of the U.S. intent not to ratify the treaty. The U.S. undoubtedly did so in order to prevent liability under Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties that provides, “A State is obliged to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of a treaty when . . . it has signed the treaty . . . until it shall have made its intention clear not to become a party to the treaty. . . .”
The Bush Administration thereafter conducted a major campaign against the ICC. The campaign included a statute that originated with Senator Jesse Helms, then Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and that had what became known as the “Hague invasion clause,” authorizing the use of U.S. military force to retrieve any U.S. citizens held by the ICC. The U.S. also sought and obtained so-called bilateral immunity agreements with countries that were States Parties to the Rome Statute whereby they would not turn over any U.S. personnel to the ICC. Other federal legislation called for cancelling any foreign military aid to countries that would not sign such agreements.
However, the Bush Administration, especially in its second term, softened its stance on the ICC. In March 2005, the U.S. abstained on the U.N. Security Council vote to refer the Sudan/Darfur situation to the ICC, thereby allowing the resolution to pass. The Administration also granted waivers from cancellation of foreign military aid.
 See Post: The International Criminal Court and the Clinton Administration (May 11, 2011).
 Letter, John R. Bolton (U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security) to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (5/6/02), http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/05/06/court.letter.text/index.html.
 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/1_1_1969.pdf.