The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Gadhafi, one of his sons and the country's intelligence minister for crimes against humanity committed against the civilian population beginning in February.
The U.N. Security Council referred Gadhafi to the ICC earlier this year and authorized international military force to protect civilians from attacks by his loyalists.
Gadhafi's South African and Italian lawyers in a memo said they expect NATO to stop the aerial campaign and "abandon its threat to kill" Gadhafi so the ICC process can run its course.
"Furthermore, NATO should immediately announce a cease-fire to guarantee the safety of the legitimate Libyan leader, Col. Gadhafi and other representatives and officials of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to exercise their right to defend themselves in a fair tribunal," they said.
ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in a press conference Tuesday said it was up to Libya to carry out the arrest warrants. Libya isn't party to the Rome Statute that created the court. Tripoli as a member of the United Nations must comply with Security Council resolutions calling for full cooperation with the ICC, he said.
The prosecutor said NATO forces don't have a mandate to arrest Gadhafi, though members of the rebel-backed Transitional National Council said they would.
"They will explain their plans as soon they are ready," the prosecutor said.