A United Nations court has convicted six Bosnian Croat political and military leaders of persecuting, expelling and murdering Muslims during Bosnia's war as part of a plan supported by leaders in neighboring Croatia to establish a Croat state in Bosnia.

The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal convictions Wednesday underscored Croatia's involvement in Bosnia's 1992-95 conflict.

A majority of the three-judge panel says that late-Croat President Franjo Tudjman was a key member of a plan to carve out a Croat ministate in Bosnia with the aim of later uniting it with his country to create a greater Croatia or leaving it as a separate independent state.

The court handed down sentences ranging from 10 to 25 years' imprisonment for the six suspects.