A United Nations war crimes court has rejected the appeals of two senior Bosnian Serbs against their convictions for playing key roles in a campaign of murder, torture and persecution against Muslims and Croats during the 1992-95 Bosnian war

The appeals panel at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on Thursday upheld the 22-year prison sentences handed down in 2013 to Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin.

Stanisic was the interior minister in the breakaway Bosnian Serb republic set up during his country's bitter war, while Zupljanin was a senior security official in charge of police.

Zupljanin crossed himself repeatedly as the court's president, Carmel Agius, reaffirmed the convictions and sentences.

The appeals chamber also rejected an appeal by prosecutors to increase the men's sentences.