The U.S. plans to complete its re-evaluation of the Magnitsky List by the end of the year, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said Wednesday.
McFaul said American officials had to analyze annually whether to add more people to the list, though he added that it was premature to start talking of its imminent expansion.
"In the end, [Secretary of State John] Kerry will decide this," McFaul told journalists, Interfax reported. "There is a public section of the list and a secret section. All of these questions have not been decided yet, but the process is taking place."
The diplomat's statements addressed recent reports from Western media that new names could appear on the list as early as this week. BBC News reported Tuesday that officials in the U.S. State Department and U.S. Senate said new names were being added.
The public section of the Magnitsky list was first published in April 2013 and includes 18 Russian officials that the U.S. believes were linked to the 2009 death of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in prison after working to uncover large-scale embezzlement and corruption by government officials. The law allows the U.S. to freeze the assets of those on the list and bar their entry into the country.
The creation of the Magnitsky list sparked a diplomatic row with Russia, which was outraged by the measure and created its own list of U.S. officials it said were implicated in human rights violations, including individuals connected to the U.S.' Guantanamo Bay detainee camp. The Russian government also banned adoptions of Russian orphans by U.S. couples, over loud protests by American adoptive families and many Russian critics.
Russian Foreign Ministry human rights commissioner Konstantin Dolgov said Wednesday that any expansion of the Magnitsky list would also prompt “adequate responsive steps.”
“To be sure, we will not leave such measures without a response,” Dolgov said.